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More Lyft riders will get picked up by driverless cars this year, strategy chief says

  • Driverless ride-hailing services are available across the U.S., and consumers will see those services grow throughout this year, Lyft Chief Strategy Officer Raj Kapoor said.
  • Lyft already has self-driving partnerships with seven companies, including Ford, Waymo and General Motors.
  • Lyft ranks as No. 5 on CNBC's sixth annual Disruptor 50 list.

Driverless ride-hailing services are available for some across the United States, and consumers will see those services grow throughout this year, Lyft Chief Strategy Officer Raj Kapoor told CNBC on Wednesday.

Kapoor, whose company ranks No. 5 on CNBC's sixth annual Disruptor 50 list, said the use of self-driving vehicles in the United States will be a "slow and gradual roll-out," but "it has begun."

"Today you go into Las Vegas and you can get an autonomous Lyft with a safety driver that will take you from hotel to hotel," Kapoor said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "You will see the roll-out begin as of 2018."

Lyft has self-driving partnerships with seven companies, including Ford, Waymo and General Motors.

Like its archrival Uber, Lyft is expanding its definition of transportation. In February the company announced it was teaming up with Baltimore Bike Share to transform five bike-share stations in the city into Lyft pickup and dropoff spots.

Separately, Lyft announced Wednesday a $100 million investment to expand its retail footprint to help reduce its drivers' expenses and strengthen its networks. The changes will include discounts for oil changes and basic vehicle maintenance, charging stations for electric vehicles and rest spots.

Lyft's Chief Operating Officer Jon McNeill said based on the company's projections, it expects its driver community "to more than double in the next five years," adding that the ride-hailing service is "in the business of supporting our drivers for the long haul."

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Kapoor told CNBC that the company has found investing in its drivers has produced better travel times and, as a result, more loyal passengers. He said his company isn't entirely preoccupied with taking market share.

Lyft claimed this month it now has 35 percent of the national ride-sharing market, up from 20 percent 18 months ago.

"We are absolutely going toward winning," Kapoor said Wednesday. "But if you look at the market, on a regional basis there is more than one player that's typically succeeding and thriving. I don't think this is a monopoly. I think there is more than one that can succeed."

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