Lyft’s driverless car strategy became much clearer Wednesday. The ride-hailing service announced it will partner with major automobile industry supplier Magna to develop driverless vehicle systems and make them available to any automaker that wants to buy them.
That could give Lyft a lot more choice when deciding what car brands to buy when it begins shedding labor costs by replacing human drivers with robots.
Canada-based Magna International is one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, with about $39 billion in revenue, offering a wide array of products, including powertrains and car seats.
Magna will invest $200 million in Lyft and collaborate on driverless system development. Lyft will lead the effort. Magna will manufacture the systems and sell them to automakers.
“Magna now becomes a one-stop shop for brands which want to deploy autonomous vehicles,” said driverless vehicle industry consultant Grayson Brulte.
Last year, another major parts supplier, Delphi, bought Nutonomy, a driverless car company based in Boston, for $400 million.
Lyft’s larger competitor, Uber, is developing its own driverless systems for cars and trucks. Google’s Waymo will begin a driverless ride-hailing system in and around Phoenix this spring.