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Waymo, Lift partner to offer self-driving tours in Phoenix



SAN FRANCISCO – Google's self-propelled car spinoff Waymo is in partnership with Lyft in Arizona to try to lure passengers away from rival market leader Uber.

The Alliance announced Tuesday will allow someone with the Lyft app in the Phoenix area to call one of the 10 self-propelled Waymo cars that will join the tour in late September.

Waymo's robot cars will still have a man behind the wheel to take control if something goes wrong with the technology. But their use in Lyft's service can make more people feel comfortable driving in self-driving cars.

Both Lyft and Uber consider self-propelled cars to be one of the keys to winning, which none of the companies have done so far. Meanwhile, Waymo has slowly expanded its own vehicle service in the Phoenix area, which to date has been limited to passengers who previously participated in free self-test technology tests.

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"We are committed to continually improving our customer experience, and our partnership with Lyft will also give our teams the opportunity to collect valuable feedback," wrote John Krafcik, director of Waymo, in a blog post.

Lift President John Zimmer described the Waymo partnership as "phenomenal" in a Tuesday conference. Uber did not respond to a request for comment.

The new threat to Uber emerges as the San Francisco company is pursuing a first public offering of stocks that could raise $ 9 billion when the deal is completed later this week. Raise raked for more than $ 2 billion in its own stock exchange listing in March, just to see that its shares fall nearly 20% below the bid price, including concerns about the ability to make money. A challenge magnified by another $ 1.1 billion loss during the first three months of the year.

Waymo's corporate parents, Alphabet Inc., are in line with being among the biggest winners in Uber's IPO, just as in the Lift Lift IP. The Alphabet owns a 5% stake in Uber that will be worth as much as $ 3.6 billion if Uber realizes its goal of selling the stock for as much as $ 50 per share. It also has a 5% stake in Lyft which is currently worth $ 761 million.

Despite their economic ties, Waymo and Uber have had a criminal relationship since they were entangled in a tough case of allegedly high-tech theft.

Waymo accused Uber of orchestrating a scheme to steal some of his autonomous driving technology. What came after Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick, began to suspect that Waymo was going to use his self-propelled cars in a rival rider.

The two sides settled that dispute last year in an agreement that required Uber to give Alphabet another package of shares worth $ 245 million at the time the weapon was reached.

The deal also requires Uber to add reviews from a software expert to ensure that it does not abuse any of Waymo's technology in its attempt to build its own self-propelled cars, a process that recently revealed some potentially "problematic" issues, revealed by as part of the Uber's IPO. Uber warned the issues might require it to pay a Waymo license fee or delay its efforts to introduce self-driving cars in its service.

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