For nearly two years, a dashboard-mounted glowing moustache has helped Lyft users identify the service's cars. The problem is, this doesn't help identify whether it's your Lyft car. Enter the Amp: A new LED light that will display different colors and messages to help Lyft users spot their ride.
Lyft, whose co-founder John Zimmer recently outlined how he expects ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles to change our cities, has described the Amp as the first in-car communications device of its kind. It has been designed to both help waiting passengers and drivers identify each other and to improve passenger safety.
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As with the "Glowstache," the Amp will be mounted on the dashboard of each Lyft car. As the device is battery-powered, it will not increase the number of cables vying for space at the car's power socket.
A front-facing LED display will be visible through the windshield, and will change color to match the in-app color displayed on the passenger's phone, helping service users spot their arriving car more easily and ensure that they are not picked up by any incorrect or fake Lyft drivers.
The Amp's LEDs have full RGB capability, but only five or six colors will be used for identification purposes to begin with. New Atlas is told the passenger's name will also be displayed as the car approaches to confirm that it's the proper vehicle.
A rear-facing screen, meanwhile, will display messages to car occupants. These messages are sent to the display via Bluetooth can be used for purposes like welcoming passengers to the vehicle, supporting local sports teams or celebrating national holidays. We assume they are set by the driver using a mobile app, but are awaiting clarification on that.
The Amp will be rolled out across the US on New Year's Eve and is expected to hit all 200+ Lyft markets by the middle of next year.
The video below shows the Amp in action.