Uber Rival Lyft Opens First European Office

Ride-hailing provider Lyft Inc. is expanding to Europe, opening an office in the southern German city of Munich, home to the likes of BMW AG and Siemens AG.

The San Francisco-based rival to Uber Technologies Inc. said workers there will develop advanced localization and geometric mapping technologies to aid its autonomous driving effort.

“They’ll build the layer of software that helps our self-driving cars know precisely where they are and what’s around them,” Lyft said in a blog post. It didn’t say whether it plans to start its ride-hailing service in the city, after it announced an expansion to Toronto, its first outside the U.S., in November.

Lyft is opening the office at a time when Uber, which operates in several European cities including Munich, is facing a series of civil lawsuits and executive turnover. Germany has been a difficult market for Uber amid legal challenges. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi earlier this month pledged to expand more carefully in the country at a tech conference in Munich, as local taxi drivers demonstrated outside, whistling in protest over the competition from Uber.

The company hasn’t said how many employees it intends to hire within the new new office and didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lyft has also been in regular contact with U.K. transport regulators. From November 2016 to November 2017, executives at Lyft met with Transport for London seven times, most recently with an October phone call between TfL Managing Director Leon Daniels and Lyft Head of Global Policy Mike Masserman to discuss the Mayor of London’s transport strategy.

— With assistance by Adam Satariano

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