Lyft will begin offering a driverless taxi service in Houston this summer, the company announced Monday.
The company’s CEO, Anthony Levandowski, said the first-of-its-kind service will allow drivers to travel in a car for the first time, “while providing customers with the ability to interact with their vehicles.”
Lyft has been developing its autonomous technology in-house in Austin, Texas, but it currently operates a fleet of fully autonomous cars in Austin.
Lyft said it plans to offer the Uber-like service at all of its locations in the United States and the United Kingdom, where it currently has about 1,300 drivers.
Levandowski said the company hopes to begin the service this summer.
“We’re going to launch this in Houston, and we’re going start in March, and by the end of the year, we’re gonna start all over again,” Levandowski told reporters during a conference call.
“So we think this is a really good way to go, to get in a first-run program and get some real traction,” Levinson said.
The Lyft service is scheduled to launch later this year, with the first of the cars expected to arrive in late summer or early fall.
Uber and Lyft have long been partners in a number of different ventures, including Uber’s self-driving program in California, where Uber has installed its own fleet of cars.
Lyft and Uber have been locked in a bitter legal dispute over whether the company is complying with state and federal law.
Levinson added that the Uber and other companies are “looking to be the first to take advantage of a new technology.”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said on Twitter that the Lyft launch “makes the most sense for our company,” and Lyft said in a statement that it is “excited to be bringing the first self-parking service to our customers in the U.S.”
Lyft also said that the company will have its own drivers in Houston to serve drivers in the new service.