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GM, Lyft to Test Self-Driving Electric Taxis

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BN-NW730_gmlyft_J_20160505095919General Motors and Lyft will start to test a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads within a year. As was discussed earlier on our blog, GM Ventures’ acquisition of Lyft and now initiative to bring self-driving cars to fruition is an attempt to challenge Silicon Valley giants and reshape the entire auto industry. The program relies upon the technology of another one of GM Ventures and General Motors’ acquisitions, Cruise Automation Inc. Cruise Automation, a San Francisco based company, has been working on self-driving technology for about two years and will continue doing so under the umbrella of GM after a $1 billion purchase.

While the details of the autonomous-testing program are still being ironed out, according to a Lyft executive, it will include real customers and will be based in an undisclosed city. GM’s recent acquisition-spree can be attributed to their effort to answer the tech industry’s efforts to displace conventional auto makers. The daunting task is directed at challenging Alphabet and Uber. The Google self-driving car program has gained a sizable lead over conventional auto makers and recently received an additional boost this week after inking a minivan supply agreement with Fiat Chrysler. Additionally, Uber, much bigger than Lyft, has its own self-driving research center in Pittsburgh and is preparing for autonomous vehicles in its fleet by 2020.

Competition is heating up in the auto industry over automated driving and it will be interesting to see whether GM and Lyft’s plan will work out later this year. Any thoughts?




  1. frankn18

    The strategy used by Lyft is interesting to look at compared to that of Uber. Last year Uber poached 40 of Carnegie Mellon’s robotics researching, leaving one of the best programs in the nation in shambles. Uber spiked their salaries and benefits and even set up the research facility in Pittsburgh. Uber gave pay increases of hundreds-of-thousands of dollars that the institution could not compete with. It will be interesting to see how Lyft’s pairing with GM will compete with Uber’s strategy. GM comes with extensive knowledge in the car production industry and perhaps that advantage will outweigh Uber’s when it comes to production.

    May 5, 2016
    • manleya18

      Why do you think GM invested in Lyft as opposed to Uber? I couldn’t find much recent data about Uber, but last year it was valued at $62.5 billion and rapidly growing, while Lyft was only valued at $2.5 billion.

      May 9, 2016
  2. adamsm19

    Will customers know that they are riding in autonomous cars? Given the recent JD Power analysis that shows a vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of autonomous cars, this could be a powerful PR strategy to acquaint consumers with self driving cars and make them less resistant to them. At the very least on road tests with Lyft will provide invaluable real world data for improving the technology.

    May 6, 2016
  3. barnettt18

    I’m glad that GM and its venture capital subsidiary GM Ventures is at the forefront of automatic driving technology innovations. It shows that even Detroit-based automakers are staying competitive within a tech market saturated by output from the San Francisco Bay Area. The success of Lyft and the mentorship provided by GM are making headways in the industry that signal future success for GM among all of its competitors in the auto industry. I can’t wait to see how GM implements the technology that Lyft develops because I, for one, am excited about the prospect of autonomous cars on a widespread basis for the consumer.

    Thomas Barnett

    May 6, 2016
  4. Barrett Snyder
    Barrett Snyder

    The only way for domestic auto manufacturers to stay competitive in this new, tech-based push for autonomous technology is to own the technology. I think it is a very solid strategy to look to stay competitive by acquiring those company’s that already have the experience and technology that they don’t as auto manufacturers.

    May 6, 2016
  5. See my comments on another Lyft post.

    May 7, 2016

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