Lyft Offering Data From Level 5 Autonomous Fleet to Public

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【Summary】In an attempt to aid in the development of self-driving vehicles, Lyft is making what it claims to be the “largest publicly released dataset of its kind” public.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Sep 04, 2019 7:20 AM PT
Lyft Offering Data From Level 5 Autonomous Fleet to Public

Lyft has a lot riding on autonomous vehicles. The ride-sharing company doesn't have the know-how, the manpower, or the engineers to produce their own self-driving cars on a mass scale to compete with the likes of a traditional automaker, so the company has had to look to outside sources for cars. Understandably, Lyft wants companies to speed things up a bit and introduce autonomous vehicles as soon as possible. To that end, the ride-sharing company has just made a large set of data from its Level 5 autonomous car public.

Making Useful Data Public

The data that Lyft is putting out into the open is from its "Level 5 Dataset." The data is also what the ride-sharing company calls is the "largest publicly released dataset of its kind." As the company points out, the dataset includes over 55,000 3D frames of footage that's been captured by human reviewers, an HD spatial semantic map, and a drivable surface map.

"One way to help accelerate innovation in this space is to have broader collaboration not just with industry, but with academia," Luc Vincent, Lyft's executive vice president of its autonomous unit, told Bloomberg in an interview. "We don't care about doing everything in secrecy; we care about accelerating the whole industry."

The dataset that has become available is from Lyft Level 5, which is the ride-sharing company's highest division. It's also in charge for the majority of Lyft's autonomous research and development. Lyft Level 5 has been working on hardware and autonomy stack for the past two years and decided to make the dataset public to "help level the playing field for researchers interested in autonomous technology." This isn't the only dataset that the company will make public, as Lyft claims new data will become available in the future.

It doesn't end there, either, as Lyft claims that it will be launching a competition down the road that will have $25,000 in prizes. The competition will see individuals train algorithms on the recently publicized dataset.

What's In It For Lyft?

While Lyft may seem like a martyr for making this new dataset public, the company will definitely benefit from the move. Making this dataset public will bring new faces to the company, open some doors for partnerships, and help the industry develop driverless technology. The quicker that happens, the quicker Lyft will be able to make more money through self-driving taxis . As Bloomberg points out, autonomous vehicles are expected to cut costs by as much as 60 percent.

Still, Lyft is adamant that sharing its dataset will help those looking into autonomous technology to solve challenging issues that are holding driverless cars back. "It's quite possible that through this data we will accelerate another player that will eventually create something great," said Vincent. "Then hopefully we will put that on the Lyft platform."

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