Photo of a NuTonomy self-driving car courtesy of NuTonomy.

Photo of a NuTonomy self-driving car courtesy of NuTonomy.

Autonomous car software developer NuTonomy is partnering with ride-hailing company Lyft on a research project aimed at finding out how to make passengers feel comfortable and safe while riding in a self-driving car.

Both companies will use their respective technology platforms to gather data on all aspects of the passenger experience — from routing and booking to the performance of the driving system, the companies said in a released statement.

The collaborative R&D effort will take place in Boston, where NuTonomy has been testing its self-driving electric cars since the beginning of the year. The company is conducting the tests in Boston’s Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park and the adjacent Seaport and Fort Point neighborhoods. An engineer from NuTonomy rides in each of its vehicles during testing to assess system performance and assume control if needed.

Through its testing program in Boston, NuTonomy is building on experience gained from road tests and public trials in Singapore since last August. The company plans to launch its autonomous vehicle on-demand service in Singapore in 2018.

“By combining forces with Lyft in the U.S., we’ll be positioned to build the best passenger experience for self-driving cars,” said Karl Iagnemma, CEO and co-founder of NuTonomy. “Both companies care immensely about solving urban transportation issues and the future of our cities, and we look forward to working with Lyft as we continue to improve our autonomous vehicle software system.” 

Following the initial phase of the NuTonomy-Lyft partnership, the companies will consider expanding their work together, they said.