GM invests $500 million in Lyft, sets out self-driving car partnership

Mon Jan 4, 2016 5:24pm EST
 
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By Steve Trousdale

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - General Motors Inc (GM.N: Quote) said on Monday it will invest $500 million in Lyft Inc and laid out plans to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars with the ride-sharing service.

The biggest single Detroit-Silicon Valley crossover deal to date comes as automakers work out how to respond to the rush of technology companies such as Apple, Alphabet and Uber - Lyft's biggest rival - to control cars of the future and likely reshape the global auto industry.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker's investment accounts for half of Lyft's latest $1 billion fundraising round. It is one of GM's biggest investments in another company and the largest single cash injection to date by a traditional automaker into a young technology firm.

The two companies said the partnership was based on the shared view that self-driving cars will first reach consumers as part of a ride-sharing service, rather than vehicles owned by drivers.

"We think our business and personal mobility will change more in the next five years than the last 50," GM President Dan Ammann said in an interview with Reuters.

The partnership will tap into GM's work on driverless cars and Lyft's software that matches drivers and passengers and calculates routes, to create a network of cars that would operate themselves and be available on demand.

The two companies did not set out a timeline to get the on-demand network up and running, but said they would immediately offer Lyft drivers short-term rentals of GM cars.

The announcement came as Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) and Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) said they would adopt the same software to link smartphone apps to vehicle dashboard screens.   Continued...

 
Dan Ammann, President of General Motors, poses after news conference in Sao Paulo July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Nacho Doce