Targeting the futuristic self-driving cars industry, Tata Motors subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover has invested $25 Mn in the US-based ride-sharing service and Uber rival Lyft. The investment has been reportedly done through Jaguar Land Rover’s mobility services business InMotion Ventures.
Tata Motors’ Inmotion Ventures invests in high-growth companies in the mobility and smart transportation sector. Its portfolio includes companies like GoKid, Sheprd, SPLT, Synaptiv, and toBoot.
The backing of Tata Motors will help Lyft in expanding its services and further develop technologies for self-driving cars. As part of the deal, Lyft will also get Jaguar and Land Rover cars to include in its fleet of vehicles.
The collaboration will provide a “real-world platform helping us develop our connected and autonomous services,” said InMotion Managing Director Sebastian Peck to ET.
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San Francisco-based Lyft was founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer. It claims to be the fastest growing rideshare company in the US and is available in more than 200 US cities. Lyft is preferred by drivers and passengers for its safe and friendly experience and its commitment to affecting positive change in urban spaces.
Lyft has to date raised $2.61 Bn in 10 rounds of funding from investors such as General Motors, Rakuten, Andreessen Horowitz, MayField Fund, Didi Chuxing, Baillie Gifford and more.
Recently, Lyft also acquired Pune-based startup FinitePaths. FinitePaths had built an app called Trail Answers which enabled its users to get answers to their queries with the help social, local, and contextual signals.
Lyft currently competes majorly with ride-hailing business Uber. Tata Group’s private equity firm Tata Opportunities Fund had invested around $80 Mn- $100 Mn in Uber in August 2015. However, despite having a significant a first mover advantage, Uber today is struggling with several issues. This includes the internal leadership issues as well as the cases of rape and sexual assault by the Uber drivers in past and the resultant questions of the company’s hostile work culture.
Much like AI and machine learning, self-driving cars are the new technology which the global tech and leading vehicle manufacturing companies are placing their bets on. As per the US-based consulting company Grand View Research, the global autonomous cars market is expected to reach 138,089 units by 2024. Here, North America and Europe are expected to take a lead while a sluggish growth has been predicted for Asia Pacific.
Apart from Tata Motors (with Lyft), other manufacturers have also shown their interest in developing the technology and manufacturing self-driving cars. This includes the likes of Tesla, Uber, Google; Daimler AG; Ford Motor Company; Toyota Motor Corporation; BMW AG; Audi AG; AB Volvo; Dutch Automated Vehicle Initiative (DAVI); Autonomous Lab; Volkswagen and more.
Recently, Uber started its self-driving cars pilot in Pittsburgh and Tempe, Arizona since last summer. However, the car soon met with an accident in Arizona in February 2017 and was temporary halted for investigation. Also, Tesla has already received the first phase of new Autopilot features. Plus, Google is also ready with Waymo – its autonomous car company – which started taking applications in April 2017 with its first model launched in association with Chrysler – the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid. With so many contenders already vying for the first go-to-market position in self-driving cars, it remains to be seen how Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover and Lyft plan to lift up their game and take on the competition.
The development was earlier reported by EtTech.