GM takes stake in ride-hailing service Lyft


New York (AFP)

US auto giant General Motors announced Monday a $500 million stake in ride-hailing service Lyft, putting its weight behind what it said was a future of autonomous on-demand cars.

The two formed a "strategic alliance" in which GM will be the preferred provider of cars to Lyft drivers through short-term rental hubs, and allow Lyft drivers and customers to connect through GM's OnStar information technology services.

The two will also jointly develop a network of self-driving vehicles available on-demand for customers.

"We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous," said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement.

"With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly."

John Zimmer, president and co-founder of Lyft, said the relationship would lead to "redefining traditional car ownership."

"Working with GM, Lyft will continue to unlock new transportation experiences that bring positive change to our daily lives."

Lyft vies with industry leader Uber in ride-hailing services which have undercut taxi services in many countries but also allowed many more people access to on-demand transportation without owning their own vehicles.

GM meanwhile is working on developing autonomous cars, and says it will launch a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Volts at the campus of its Warren, Michigan-based technical center late in 2016.

The GM investment came as apart of a $1 billion fund-raising round by Lyft which also saw contributions from China's Didi Kuaidi and Alibaba, Japan's Rakuten and Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding, owned by buillionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.