Lyft’s self-driving vehicle division has restarted testing on public roads in California, several months after pausing operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lyft’s Level 5 program said Tuesday some of its autonomous vehicles are back on the road in Palo Alto and at its closed test track. The company has not resumed a pilot program that provided rides to Lyft employees in Palo Alto.
The company said it is following CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment and surface cleaning. It has also enacted several additional safety steps to prevent the spread of COVID. Each autonomous test vehicle is equipped with partitions to separate the two safety operators inside, the company said. The operators must wear face shields and submit to temperature checks. They’re also paired together for two weeks at a time.
Lyft’s Level 5 program — a nod to the SAE automated driving level that means the vehicle handles all driving in all conditions — launched in July 2017 but didn’t starting testing on California’s public roads until November 2018. Lyft then ramped up the testing program and its fleet. By late 2019, Lyft was driving four times more autonomous miles per quarter than it was six months …read more