Uber’s major US competitor and pioneering ride-hailing operator Lyft, first launched in 2012 in San Francisco, has beat its rival to the punch in filing to go public with its filing of an S-1 form to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Lyft’s filing offered a unique glimpse into the world of the ride-hailing industry and its operators, lending a perspective on the current realities of the market as well as giving a glimpse into how they believe the coming years will develop.

Among the insights offered were aspects of the company’s autonomous vehicle strategy and how they plan to introduce the technology in their services. Lyft made headlines when it announced in January of 2018 the launch of a fleet of autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas, together with autonomous technology experts Aptiv. While the program has been a success, passengers taking some 35,000 rides in the city, it has yet to expand to other cities. The filing now suggests two paths for the future expansion of these ambitions.

The first of these is the more moderate approach, offering autonomous technology and vehicle developers and manufacturers an opportunity to integrate their vehicles into Lyft’s operated fleet. The second approach sees the company take a bold step into the development of their own at a location dedicated to the development of autonomous vehicles. Dubbed the Level 5 Engineering Center, the facility allows Lyft to take an active role in this development which plays a crucial role in improving the company's profitability. Despite notable growth, Lyft continues to operate at a loss, $911.3 million in 2018, as it invests in autonomous technology and light and shared mobility offerings which stand to reduce the most considerable cost of operating its system by replacing individual rides served by human drivers with options that cut down on this need for labor. 

Read the S-1 filing

Read about the launch of Lyft and Aptiv’s partnership 

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