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May 10th, 2016 at 9:24 am

Public roads may soon see self-driving electric taxis thanks to GM and Lyft


GM has invested $1 billion in Lyft and self-driving car technology so they can start testing self-driving taxis on public roads. The program will feature electric Chevy Bolts and “real customers,” who will have the chance to opt in or out, but many details haven’t been hashed out.


“We will want to vet the autonomous tech between Cruise, GM and ourselves and slowly introduce this into markets,” Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft’s product director, told The Journal. The company wants to “ensure that cities would have full understanding of what we are trying to do here.”

GM stressed that the test program is happening according to plan but declined to provide specifics on timing.

“GM continues to make progress on our previously announced plans related to an integrated on-demand autonomous network with Lyft,” the automaker said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.

“Similarly, we have said the Chevrolet Bolt EV is the ideal platform for ride sharing solutions. We believe electrification blends perfectly with autonomy when it comes to technology integration. We have nothing specific to announce in relation to potential rollout of vehicles and technologies at this time.”

News of the rollout largely matches expectations, as GM unveiled the production model of the Chevy Bolt at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and the company has announced the new Bolts will begin rolling off production lines later this year. GM has also been actively developing its self-driving tech for years.

If Lyft wants to compete with the much bigger and better-funded Uber, it will need help. Sidecar, which was once a semipopular alternative to Lyft and Uber, shut down because it wasn’t able to raise as much money or grow as quickly as its competition. Uber, Google, and Tesla are also separately working on driverless cars.

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