The ride-hailing company Lyft is changing up its search data and places provider, which until now have been powered by Google. Lyft will now use Here instead. Lyft says the switch will mean a better search database for places and addresses as well as more accurate predicted arrival times—two important things for a ride-hailing company to get right.
“Over the past six months, we have worked in collaboration with Lyft to implement and test our robust destination catalog that helps riders get to more destinations in cities across North America. Our services are now enriching the Lyft network, spearheading innovation in the rideshare industry,” said Here CEO Edzard Overbeek.
There may be other motivations for the switch. According to Lyft’s head of rideshare, Ashwin Raj, the switch will “improve the efficiency of our marketplace,” but the press release also explicitly mentions keeping user data private.
Lyft also has a new driverless tech partner. In the past, the company has dabbled in developing an in-house capability, but in April, Lyft sold off its internal self-driving division to a subsidiary of Toyota.
Working with external autonomous driving partners seems to be going better, though, as Lyft provides the necessary ride-hailing component to find people to ride in robotaxis being developed by other companies. Lyft worked with Aptiv and Motional in Las Vegas, with plans to launch a robotaxi service using electric Hyundai Ioniq 5s in the city in 2023. And Lyft has helped Waymo begin actual commercial operations in Arizona.
Now, Lyft will partner with Argo AI, the autonomous driving company with big investments from Ford and Volkswagen. Lyft is getting a 2.5 percent stake in Argo and, together with Argo and Ford, will begin adding robotaxis (with safety drivers) to its network in Miami later this year and Austin, Texas, in 2021.