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Waymo and Lyft team up on technology for driverless cars

FILE - In a Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, Hyundai America President and CEO John Krafcik talks
Waymo Chief Executive John Krafcik.
(Tony Ding / Associated Press)

If the future of transportation is centered on driverless vehicles available to passengers on demand, its first industry powerhouse may have just been hatched.

Waymo and Lyft confirmed Sunday they’ve signed a deal to collaborate on autonomous technology through pilot projects and product development. The deal was first reported in the New York Times.

General Motors will be implicitly involved with the deal. The automaker holds a major stake in Lyft, and the two are using GM’s new electric car, the Bolt EV, as a test vehicle driverless cars.

The companies revealed no details, but each would bring unique strengths to a partnership.

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Waymo, part of the Google family of companies, has been developing driverless technology longer than anyone. Lyft is the No. 2 ride hailing company in the U.S. GM, of course, is an automobile manufacturing behemoth.

Automakers and tech companies are scrambling for position in the race to develop autonomous cars, trucks and buses. Add ride hailing to the mix, and analysts expect it’ll be a market worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

The team-up could be bad news for Uber, the world’s leading ride-hailing company, which is undergoing a series of crises, including a lawsuit by Waymo that accuses Uber of stealing trade secrets from Waymo servers. A federal judge last week suggested the Justice Department consider a criminal investigation of Uber, and Monday placed restrictions on Uber’s driverless car project while the case continues.

russ.mitchell@latimes.com

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Twitter: @russ1mitchell

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