When Chevrolet invested half a billion dollars in Lyft earlier this year, people wondered how it would use the ridesharing app in its business. This week, the company gave us the answer. It says it will introduce a taxi service using autonomous-driving Chevy Bolt electric cars in undisclosed US cities in 2017. The Chevy Bolt is expected to go into production before the end of this year. Lyft users will be able to opt out of the autonomous trial if they wish. Sitting in the back seat while the car drives itself may be a little too close to science fiction for some.
Chevrolet has always said that the Bolt, which has more interior space than its small size suggests, will be ideal for taxi service. Its investment in Lyft signifies its willingness to be an active participant in the ridesharing market. The Chevy Bolt is expected to appeal to people looking to earn a living driving for Lyft. It remains to be seen, however, whether people will embrace self-driving cars that have no human operator behind the wheel.
General Motors is also in the process of acquiring Cruise, a San Francisco–based tech startup that designs and builds autonomous driving systems. The General is betting there is money to be made from the synergy between its manufacturing skill, Lyft’s ridesharing app, and Cruise’s technological skill.
Tesla Motors is known to be very interested in that market, as is Google. It is possible that Apple also has its eye on producing driverless cars that will be shared rather than owned outright. Ridesharing and carsharing are seen as potentially lucrative businesses. Typically, a private passenger car is only used 5% of the time. The rest of the time it sits parked somewhere. Carsharing will keep a car busy far more frequently, generating income for someone all the while. At least, that’s the theory.
Source: TechNews Photo credit: Chevrolet