When General Motors Co. invested $500M in Lyft Inc., the resulting partnership was unprecedented. This gave Lyft drivers the ability to "rent" General Motors' cars, while General Motors got access to Lyft's automated network of drivers and riders.
But it was about more than just the sharing of resources. In fact, the goal of their combined effort was to bring their own take on the clean, self-driving future of transportation...and reports say that this might just materialize well within a year.
Electric, Self-Driving Taxis
The companies are set to test out their fleet of electric, self-driving taxis within a year in an undisclosed city. Lyft asserts that they already have a prototype application that would connect customers to a driverless cab through their smartphones.
The technology behind these new vehicles is said to rely on the contribution of another company bought by General Motors—Cruise Automation Inc., a San Francisco-based company that focuses on implementing autonomous driving tech onto existing cars.
Currently, General Motors is leasing Chevrolet Equinox cars to Lyft drivers in Chicago, but as part of the investment, the program is going to expand. Later this year, Chevrolet will be releasing the Bolt EV, an electric car with a mile range of about 322 km (220 miles), aimed towards Lyft drivers.
A General Motors spokesperson suggested that the Chevy Bolt is "the ideal platform" for the driverless taxi program, perfectly integrating electrification with autonomy.