Lyft to Test its Self-Driving Cars at California's GoMentum Station
CONCORD, Calif., — Lyft is joining the growing list of major automakers and tech companies working on autonomous driving and related technology at California's GoMentum Station. Lyft announced today it will begin testing its self-driving technology at GoMentum Station, the sprawling, former military base in Concord, California.
GoMentum Station, located east of San Francisco, is one of ten autonomous vehicle proving grounds designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation where companies can go to test out their autonomous technology, in a private, closed environment.
"By partnering with GoMentum Station, we're able to test our self-driving systems in a secure facility and advance our technology in an efficient way," said Luc Vincent, Lyft vice president of engineering.
The 5,000 acre former military base is an ideal location, complete with over 19 miles of paved roads, overpasses, buildings, and other infrastructure that autonomous cars must contend with in the real world.
A paved driveway and parking lot at GoMentum Station
As a private facility, GoMentum has no such restrictions on the types of testing that can be done there. Companies are free to test vehicles with or without drivers present in the vehicle. Other companies testing autonomous vehicles at GoMentum include Uber, Honda and Toyota.
Another former military facility, Castle Air Force Base near Atwater also offers its miles of private roads for autonomous vehicle testing. Waymo has leased 91 acres of Castle, and has been testing its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans there for the past several years.
Lyft last year started its own self-driving research center in Silicon Valley, called Lyft Level 5 Engineering Center, after the designation for fully self-driving cars that require no human intervention. The company said it expects to have several hundred engineers working there by the end of this year.
Lyft also has partnerships with several other companies, including NuTonomy in Boston, where it is testing autonomous taxi rides with backup drivers and Jaguar Land Rover, which said it will place its future autonomous cars into service with Lyft.
In another partnership, Lyft and Mountain View, California based Drive.ai in said they will introduce an autonomous ride-hailing service to the Bay Area, but have not set a date.
General Motors invested $500 million for a 9 percent stake in Lyft two years ago and said it would provide Lyft with self-driving cars to use in its ride-hailing business. However, GM, whose Cruise division in San Francisco is rapidly developing new generations of autonomous cars, has been silent about its Lyft relationship for the past year.
"We are excited to see Lyft, one of the largest innovative transportation companies, join in using Concord's GoMentum Station – at the forefront of technological advances," said Edi Birsan, mayor of Concord.
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