Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover has invested $25 million in the US-based rideshare company Lyft to test its autonomous vehicles technology as well as to gain access into the expanding rideshare economy.
The investment will support Lyft’s expansion and technology plans and will also provide Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures with the opportunity to develop and test its mobility services, including autonomous vehicles, and to supply Lyft drivers with a fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, InMotion Ventures, a JLR subsidiary said in a statement. “Personal mobility and smart transportation is evolving and this new collaborative venture will provide a real-world platform helping us develop our connected and autonomous services,” said Sebastian Peck, InMotion, Managing Director.
This is second such investment made by InMotion Ventures. The company recently made a seed investment in SPLT, the Detroit-based digital carpool business, which works with Lyft to provide non-emergency medical transport.
Hanno Kirner, Executive Director of Corporate and Strategy, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “This is a strategic investment for both parties as we focus on innovating new mobility solutions for our customers.”
Lyft, which rivals Uber in the US with presence in over 300 cities, announced last week a new partnership with Boston-based self-driving car start-up NuTonomy to eventually put thousands of autonomous vehicles on the road.
John Zimmer, Lyft President and Co-founder, said: “Lyft envisions a future where shared mobility will transform cities and improve people’s lives. This partnership will help us achieve that ambitious goal.”
Zimmer expects a majority of ride sharing taking place on autonomous cars by 2021.
Almost every large automaker is betting on autonomous cars.
General Motors, a larger investor in Lyft, has invested $500 million in the company with the goal of eventually deploying its driverless Chevy Bolts on the rideshare network.
Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies are one of Jaguar Land Rover’s research priorities. It is creating a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles to develop and test a wide range of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies over the next four years.
JLR is working not only its own R&D team on the project but also with its parent Tata Motors’ European Technical Centre as well as Ford.
However, while the deal seems to be more targeted towards access to autonomous driving technologies, the shifting trend towards shared mobility, which is a worrying trend for car makers as many youngsters in the West are already moving away from car ownership.
The trend is slowly catching up in India as well, where Indian car makers also see shared mobility as an emerging reality for the industry.
So, instead of fighting out the likes of Ola and Uber, companies like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tatas are partnering with these companies so that they can sell their cars for the ever expanding fleets of Ola and Uber.
“At Mahindra, we are closely working with all major aggregators and other self-drive companies like Voler, Revv, Just Ride, Mychoice and so on, to participate in this new ecosystem.
These alliances help in getting the focus back to the stake holders and to improve affordability for the driver-cum-owners as well as aids in easy on-boarding,” SAID Veejay Ram Nakra, Senior Vice- President, Sales & Customer Care, Automotive Division, M&M.