Lyft CTO on Autonomous Vehicles, Outsourcing Tech and a GM Takeover

Lyft outsources three key technologies that its rival Uber does not. Amazon Web Services powers its cloud-computing. Google runs its maps. And GM’s Cruise is developing autonomous vehicles for Lyft. Chris Lambert, the company’s CTO, said that outsourcing was “a deliberate choice,” not due to a lack of resources.

“There’s no question our engineering team is smaller than Uber’s... but we’ve been happy with the trade-offs we’ve made,” Mr. Lambert said at The Information’s annual Subscriber Summit in San Francisco on Friday. (Lyft’s engineering team is probably one-tenth the size of Uber’s.)

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General Motors, a top Lyft investor and partner, indicated to Lyft earlier this year that it would be willing to pay $6 billion to acquire the company, including its cash in the bank, The Information has reported. But Lyft, after asking whether GM would be willing to pay $9 billion (the answer was “no”), is working on a long term vision and that means “building a sustainable company that is going to be around for years to come,” Mr. Lambert said.

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Mr. Lambert said he expects the process of integrating autonomous cars into Lyft’s service will be a gradual one.