Lyft’s New Feature Would Tell Drivers You Don’t Want to Talk

Jul 27, 2018

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We’ve all been there — You’ve had a stressful day at work or just hopped off a redeye flight, and you just want to enjoy a silent ride in your Lyft. And, while the people driving these cars are much appreciated, sometimes you need your quiet time, but the driver keeps nagging you with questions.

Well now, Lyft is considering adding a feature that will allow passengers to notify the driver that they are not looking to make small talk. Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft’s head of product for autonomous driving, told Casey Newton in an interview on an episode of Converge, a podcast from The Verge, that the company may play around with a “zen mode” feature eventually, but they have no set plans for it at the moment.

Zen mode would be a subtle but nice way of letting your driver know that you’re not being rude by not engaging in conversation, you just want some quiet time. Matthiesen said this feature would add to the company’s plans to make rides more personalized.  Lyft is also trying to get more autonomous cars that would learn about passengers on the road and is currently testing them out in Las Vegas.

“The autonomous car is going to know a lot more [about you],” Matthiesen told Newton. “It’s going to know your temperature that you’re going to want. It’s probably also going to know that it’s early in the morning, and so it’s going to have a dark-lit cabin to let you sleep.”

Lyft doubled its value in one year and is worth around $15 billion as of June. The rapidly growing startup has tried to make rides as convenient as possible, with innovations such as including price and time comparisons for rides.

Whether Lyft actually installs a “zen mode,” it is clear passengers want a polite way to ask their drivers’ for a more tranquil ride.

Featured image by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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