Google's self-driving unit, Waymo, is getting a huge leg up over rivals via its new partnership with Lyft, according to Morgan Stanley analysts. In a new research report, they estimate that Waymo is already logging several thousand miles per day, whereas Lyft's drivers do millions of miles per day. In effect the partnership, depending on the terms of the deal, could give Waymo access to that much more pertinent driving data. Very few companies dealing in autonomous cars have access to good quality ride data and certainly not at Lyft's scale.
Uber is developing its own autonomous technology, but its ability to deploy it inside its network may be stalled by a legal battle with Google. Meanwhile car manufacturers building self-driving cars don't have a network with which to test their technology, which means the miles they're capturing are low quality. What this means is the partnership with Lyft could put Waymo in a good position to license out its tech to car manufacturers who are behind on the self-driving front. RR