Photo of GM Building: Jim Henderson
Last year, General Motors announced that it was investing $500 million in Uber’s main competitor: Lyft. Given the negative press we have been reading of late involving the behavior of Uber CEO Travis Cordell Kalanick’s hiring practices, along with his video taped berating of a Uber driver for bringing unfair labor practices to his attention, GM’s selection of Lyft is refreshing. For the uninitiated, Lyft is a network of on-demand drivers similar to Uber. However, Lyft is invested in “self-driving circuit cars”, also known as autonomous driving cars.
Google, Tesla and Uber are all said to be exploring self-driving cars. They can have them, as far as I’m concerned. GM will also become a preferred partner for Lyft drivers. What this means essentially is that Lyft drivers who don’t own cars can access the vehicles from rental locations across the country and earn money driving for Lyft.
Furthermore, Lyft drivers will have access to GM’s OnStar services, built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and diagnostics features that track how the car is operating while driving.
Saudi Arabia billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal has invested more than $100 million in the company. Never one to be left out of earning a buck, activist investor Carl Icahn has matched this amount with his own investment in Lyft.
Whether or not this comes to pass, I for one insist on driving my own car, inasmuch as I insist that a crew of competent pilots to fly a commercial airplane manually.