Popular ride-hailing service Lyft has announced that General Motors has donated $500 million in the company. This is the single largest direct investment by an auto manufacturer into a ride sharing service in the United States.
In addition to this investment, GM will also be supporting Lyft on future projects, including helping to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars, a project that companies like Tesla, Uber, and Google have all poured enormous resources into in recent years. Furthermore, GM will also work with the rideshare company to establish several short-term car rental hubs throughout the country, allowing people who do not own their own cars to pick up a vehicle and earn money by driving for Lyft.
GM president Daniel Ammann will join the board of the San Francisco-based company. In an interview, Mr. Ammann said that GM wants to be a part of the changing transportation business model, anticipating “more changes in the world of mobility than there have been in the past 50.” According to Ammann, these changes are seen as a welcome opportunity rather than a threat to the carmaker’s success.
According to John Zimmer, president of Lyft, the future of autonomous vehicle technology is a network of shared vehicles rather than individual ownership. This major investment of funds and collaborative resources reflects just how much consumer automotive habits have changed in response to changes in technology over the past ten years. Using other people’s vehicles for rides through services like Uber or Lyft could potentially lead to a decline in car ownership.
So far, neither company has given any details on how the network is supposed to function, nor a specific timeline on when the project is expected to become publicly available.
Read more on this story online via The New York Times.