Lyft, a ride-hailing service that allows individuals to use an app to match with local drivers at the tap of a button, has long touted the merits of having fewer cars on the road. Ultimately, they think that the future of transportation is less individual drivers and more travel options. Now, with the help of General Motors (GM), the tech start-up is set to reach that goal—thanks to GM’s investment of $500 million.
But this goes beyond financial backing. The partnership now sees GM and Lyft working together for the development of an on-demand fleet of self-driving cars, an area of research that companies such as Tesla, Google ,and Uber have already devoted a lot of resources into.
In addition, GM will now also be working with Lyft to build a network of short-term car-rental hubs all over the United States, allowing people who do not own their own vehicles to use a Lyft-owned vehicle to drive for the service and earn money.
This also means that Daniel Ammann, GM’s President, will be joining the board of San Francisco based Lyft.
“We strongly believe that autonomous vehicle go-to-market strategy is through a network, not through individual car ownership,” John Zimmer, president of Lyft, said in an interview with the New York Times.
The $500 million investment also marks the single biggest direct investment an automobile manufacturer has made into a ride-hailing service company in the US. This milestone is a testament to how much consumer automotive habits have been affected and changed by technology in recent years. And with the increasing convenience and ease-of-travel that ride-sharing companies continue to offer commuters around the world, automobile manufacturers are now trying to keep up with, what seems to be, a decline in car ownership.