GM finishes buying self-driving car tech firm


General Motors has completed its acquisition of Cruise Automation, the 3-year-old San Francisco startup that may provide a critical piece of technology in the quest to bring a fully autonomous car to market soon. Under terms of GM's acquisition, Cruise will operate from San Francisco; cofounder Vogt will report to GM's recently formed autonomous vehicle development team led by Doug Parks, GM vice president of autonomous technology. In January, GM announced it is investing 500 million in ride-sharing service Lyft, which also is based in San Francisco. Last week, a Lyft executive, Taggart Matthiesen, said GM and Lyft would begin testing a small fleet of fully autonomous vehicles that could be the new Chevrolet Bolt, in the latter's ride-sharing services in one city that Matthiesen did not identify.

Apple's bet on Uber's Chinese rival makes plenty of sense


With over 1.7 billion people calling the country home, Apple obviously thinks the figure has more room to grow, and this deal can help spur that expansion. By investing in a local giant (that's going to be fighting Uber for years to come) Apple ingratiates itself to government officials, important local business people and the population as a whole. According to a report from The Information, Kalanick had planned a meeting at Apple headquarters this week to discuss "future partnership opportunities." Obviously Didi's taxis aren't autonomous yet -- although tech giant LeEco thinks it's getting close -- but they could nonetheless gather valuable data for Apple.

GM, Lyft to Test Self-Driving Electric Taxis


General Motors Co. GM 0.32 % and Lyft Inc. within a year will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads, a move central to the companies' joint efforts to challenge Silicon Valley giants in the battle to reshape the auto industry. The Detroit auto giant and Lyft currently rent the Chevy Equinox to drivers needing vehicles in Chicago, but that program will expand to more cities and will rely heavily on Bolts in the future instead of the sport-utility vehicle. Many global auto makers have been lapped by key developments born in Silicon Valley, including Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA -0.80 % 's electric cars, Alphabet Inc. GOOGL -0.34 % 's Google autonomous car program and Uber's ride-sharing business. 'We will want to vet the autonomous tech between Cruise, GM and ourselves...' Executives at Lyft and Uber have said one of the top hurdles to their success is navigating a patchwork of regulations that govern the use of autonomous vehicles and liabilities.

Lyft to trial driverless cars on US roads

The Guardian

Driverless taxis could hit the streets in a matter of years after Lyft – a rival to private car-hailing app Uber – announced plans to test them on US roads. Detroit-based automotive firm General Motors and Lyft will road-test a fleet of autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis within a year, as the driverless car revolution gathers pace. The plan, unveiled just a few months after Uber announced a similar move, is expected to involve customers testing the new service in a US city that has yet to be chosen. Customers who use the app are expected to be offered a choice of whether they want to be part of the trials or would prefer a human driver. Lyft's prototype app for the service is understood to include options that allow the passenger to order their robot chauffeur to tell them when they have reached their destination.

Lyft and GM will put self-driving taxis on the road within a year


The self-driving taxi revolution could soon be at hand as Lyft and GM prepare to test driverless cars on public roads. A Lyft executive told the Wall Street Journal that a pilot program will launch within one year in a still-undisclosed city, using GM's Chevrolet Bolt electric cars. Some details are still being ironed out, but the plan is to let users opt into the program wherever it happens. The self-driving technology will be powered by Cruise Automation, a startup that GM intends to acquire for more than 1 billion. At first, the cars won't be completely driverless.

Ford invests 182 million in cloud-based software company Pivotal

Los Angeles Times

Two miles apart in Palo Alto, workers from Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are hustling to establish a role for their companies in a future in which consumers don't own cars and the vehicles steer themselves. On Thursday, it became ever more clear that the Michigan automakers and their West Coast outposts won't be going at it alone. They'll be depending big time on software-developing neighbors in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Ford announced an 182.2-million investment in Pivotal Software Inc., a San Francisco company whose programs are already used by the likes of Lockheed Martin and Allstate Corp., to quickly develop their own computer applications. "Expanding our business to be both an auto and mobility company requires leading-edge software expertise," Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said in a statement.

GM, Lyft to test self-driving cars within a year


Katie Baranyuk gets out of a car driven by Dara Jenkins, a driver for the ride-sharing service Lyft. General Motors and Lyft will test a fleet of autonomous cars that may include the Chevrolet Bolt EV within a year in a step toward eliminating the major cost of operating ride-sharing fleets, the human driver. The plan is still a work in progress, according to Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft director of product. The two companies have not chosen the city, nor have they settled on which GM vehicles would be used in the pilot program. "At first we're talking about a very small number of vehicles," said Matthiesen, who will speak Friday afternoon at the Detroit Techweek conference.

GM, Lyft to Test Self-Driving Electric Taxis

Wall Street Journal

General Motors Co. GM -0.16 % and Lyft Inc. within a year will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads, a move central to the companies' joint efforts to challenge Silicon Valley giants in the battle to reshape the auto industry. The plan is being hatched a few months after GM invested 500 million in Lyft, a ride-hailing company whose services rival Uber Technologies Inc. The program will rely on technology being acquired as part of GM's separate 1 billion planned purchase of San Francisco-based Cruise Automation Inc., a developer of autonomous-driving technology. Details of the autonomous-taxi testing program are still being worked out, according to a Lyft executive, but it will include customers in a yet-to-be disclosed city. Customers will have the opportunity to opt in or out of the pilot when hailing a Lyft car from the company's mobile app.

Can Ride Apps Really Solve America's Traffic Woes?


Numbers will help determine the answers, and so Shaheen and her team have embarked on a landmark study examining the latest wave of carpooling in the U.S., one organized not through bulletin boards over a period of days but through smartphone apps in real time. Armed with the data that ride-app companies Uber and Lyft have agreed to provide, Shaheen aims to calculate the two companies' environmental impact, including the effects of the cheaper pooling options (Lyft Line and UberPool) that the firms have been touting as solutions to America's traffic and idle-asset problems. "We can cut congestion, pollution and parking by getting more people into fewer cars," Uber CEO Travis Kalanick avowed in February. But those firms are already helping to challenge America's auto-dependency problem in at least one way.