General Motors and ride-hailing company Lyft are forming an unprecedented partnership that could help them beat their rivals to the self-driving future. Lyft said Monday that GM invested $500 million in the company as part of a $1 billion round of fundraising. GM gets a seat on Lyft's board and access to the three-year-old company's software, which matches riders with drivers and automates payments. It also becomes a preferred vehicle provider, with the chance to get many more people behind the wheel of a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac. San Francisco-based Lyft gets the expertise of a 108-year-old automaker with decades of experience in making connected and autonomous vehicles.
Together, the companies plan to open a network of US hubs where Lyft drivers can rent GM vehicles. That could expand Lyft's business by giving people who don't own cars a way to drive and earn money through Lyft. It will also give GM a leg up on competitors like Daimler AG and Ford, which are developing their own ride-sharing services. Longer term, GM and Lyft will work together to develop a fleet of autonomous vehicles that city dwellers could summon using Lyft's mobile app. Partnering with GM could give Lyft a boost over its arch-rival, Uber, which is working on its own driverless cars.