Lyft has strengthened its driverless car plans by acquiring UK-based technology start-up Blue Vision Labs.

Founded in 2016, Blue Vision develops augmented reality and uses computer vision to process street-level imagery.

The acquisition will enable US taxi-hailing service Lyft to accelerate its efforts in developing autonomous transportation.

TechCrunch was the first to break the story and valued the transaction at around $72m, citing unnamed sources.

It also reported that the company unveiled Ford’s Fusion Hybrid as the first car under its self-driving initiative.

Lyft head of autonomous technology Luc Vincent said: “One of the reasons why Blue Vision Labs’ technology is so cutting-edge is that it can crowdsource highly detailed 3D maps of entire cities using just car-mounted camera phones.

“These maps allow a car to understand exactly where it is, what’s around it, and what to do next, with centimetre-level accuracy.”

“Blue Vision can crowdsource highly detailed 3D maps of entire cities using just car-mounted camera phones.”

Using a demo video, Vincent explained how passengers looking for drivers can look at the road through their phones, using augmented reality technology to locate the car.

The acquisition, which is Lyft’s first acquisition in the self-driving space, will allow the company to open its first office in the UK. Blue Vision is set to become the UK hub for Lyft’s self-driving division, known as Level 5.

Blue Vision’s core technology involves building city-scale 3D maps from mobile phone acquired imagery.

Lyft will work on how to use Blue Vision’s stack to enable drivers and riders to find each other more precisely.

Launched in 2012, the on-demand transportation company has operations in around 300 cities across the US.

In July this year, Lyft acquired bike-sharing network Motivate.