Self-driving cars and ride-hailing apps are supposed to make a killer combination that will have a bigger impact than either could individually. That makes alliances between automakers, tech companies, and ride-hailing companies very important.
One of the first of those alliances was between General Motors and Lyft. GM invested $500 million in Lyft last year, and it was thought that GM's Cruise Automation division would eventually team up with Lyft on autonomous ride-hailing. But GM's relationship with Lyft is fading, and the automaker might partner with Lyft rival Uber instead, according to a report from The Information.
The report claims that GM is now meeting with Uber about a possible self-driving car partnership, however, there have been no public statements indicating a change in the status quo of the GM/Lyft partnership, or any discussion of a partnership between GM and Uber. GM and Lyft no longer rely on each other exclusively to advance their respective self-driving car plans.
Lyft forged a partnership with Waymo earlier this year, and yesterday the ride-hailing company confirmed that Waymo parent Alphabet will lead a $1 billion funding round. Lyft also has its own in-house self-driving car development program, and its partnering with startups NuTonomy and Drive.ai to launch autonomous ride-hailing pilot programs in Boston and San Francisco.
GM's Cruise Automation division is already testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars on public roads, and is even operating a small-scale ride-hailing service for its employees in San Francisco. GM also has Maven, which operates car-sharing services, provides low-cost rental cars to Uber and Lyft drivers, and is even reportedly considering its own ride-hailing service.
Meanwhile, Uber could use a strong ally. It has a fleet of XC90s from Volvo, but its autonomous-driving program has been bogged down with controversy. Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber in February, alleging that the ride-sharing company used data stolen by engineer Anthony Levandowski when he was a Waymo employee. Levandowski became a bigwig in Uber's self-driving car program,
but was fired for not cooperating with Uber's legal defense.