GM, Lyft to Push for Driverless Taxis

The partnership between General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) and Lyft, a ride hailing company, is maturing as the two corporation is now planning to bring driverless electric taxis on public roads within a year. This report further stated that the automaker is planning to utilize its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles for the mentioned project.

According to an executive of the ride hailing company, customers will have the option to avail the autonomous car pilot project through the mobile application of Lyft. The prototype of the application has already been created and it shall be a milestone for the company’s driverless car efforts. The customers of the ride hailing service will be able to contact the GM OnStar system for help with regards to the driverless ride.

This project is the second most aggressive one from General Motors, after it invested $500 million in Lyft. Before, the two companies offered the Express Drive project, where the drivers of the ride hailing service will be able to utilize the General Motors cars for rent rather than own the vehicle. According to the president of Lyft Mr. John Zimmer, almost 150,000 individuals applied for Lyft drivers. However, many did not meet the standards of the company.

The Express Drive initiative was launched in the month of March from Chicago, wherein about 125 Chevrolet Equinox SUVs were utilized. The project was intended to be rolled out in four cities, namely Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, as well as Baltimore. Yet, General Motors has hinted that this project may expand to more places.

With the announcement of driverless taxis, General Motors is moving ahead with its purchase of Cruise Automation, which is an autonomous driving startup. The car manufacturer has stated that the acquisition transaction is ready to be finalized this quarter, and this move will ramp up the efforts of the company towards self-driving cars. Aside from from Tesla Motors, Alphabet has also been conducting research on autonomous cars since the year 2009. Google has also broadcasted a partnership with Fiat Chrysler to manufacture 100 self-driving Pacific minivans.

Meanwhile, Uber has also researched on autonomous cars, as the company aims to get rid of heavy wages for its drivers. Last month, the mobility giant has won a legal tussle against its drivers at Massachusetts and California, and its drivers in the mentioned states will continue to work as independent contractors rather than as employees. Furthermore, Uber has agreed to pay a settlement fee of $100 million.

On the other hand, General Motors has been capitalizing on its strategic partners to make progress in the car-mobility industry. According to a number of media publications, GM- Cruise Automation acquisition transaction is valued at almost $1 billion. The product director of Lyft Mr. Taggart Matthiesen, “We will want to vet the autonomous tech between Cruise, GM and ourselves and slowly introduce this into markets.”

As of 9:07 AM GMT -4 on May 6, 2016, the stock of GM is changing hands at $30.53, down by 0.03 percent or 0.01. Currently, the market capitalization stands at 46.93 billion.

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