General Motors and Lyft to introduce on-demand autonomous vehicles
GM is one of many companies, including Tesla, Volvo, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, which has been working on self-driving vehicles for quite some time now.
Lyft, whose cars can be identified by their pink moustache, offers a similar service to Uber but seeks to stand apart with a simpler app interface, and easier options for carpooling to split the cost of your ride. The GM-Lyft partnership is the latest collaboration between Detroit and Silicon Valley; late last month news broke that Ford and Google would be teaming up to work on, you guessed it, autonomous cars.
In detail, GM and Lyft will create a network of on-demand autonomous vehicle that will broaden the choice of ride-sharing services now available. Meanwhile, other Lyft investment partners also made capital contributions for this investment round, including Alibaba, Rakuten, Didi Kuaidi and Janus Capital Management.
Lyft’s competitors include Sidecar and Uber, whose various ride-hailing services have disrupted traditional taxi and other transportation businesses in numerous countries around the world since it was founded in 2009. GM will use its knowledge of autonomous vehicle technology while Lyft will contribute its ride-sharing expertise.
Together, the companies plan to open a network of US hubs where Lyft drivers can rent GM vehicles. For comparison, Lyft operates in just 190 US cities, and just recently formed partnerships in China and India. Lyft said it has raised a total of $2 billion since August 2013. Lyft drivers will be eligible to lease GM vehicles on a short term basis to use for business purposes.
In a keynote speech to be delivered in Las Vegas on Wednesday GM CEO Mary Barra is expected to disclose more details about GM’s progress in developing autonomous technologies. By comparison, GM is valued at $53 billion and earned $153 billion in revenue in 2014, according to AP. Uber also poached about 50 people from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics department at the start of the year.