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GM just joined forces with Lyft in a major way

Transportation industry, get ready for some major disruption. To celebrate the new year, General Motors has just invested $500 million in Lyft, and the two firms are planning to create an “integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S.” The result is that you’ll soon have a whole new fleet of autonomous taxis driving about town, all at your beck and call.

In a joint announcement Monday morning, the automotive manufacturer and transportation company outlined a number of strategic goals expected to come from their “long term strategic alliance,” including this self-driving network, a rental hub, connectivity in the form of OnStar services, and joint mobility offerings.

GM will join Lyft’s board of directors as part of the new partnership, and looks to be moving beyond its traditional role in the car industry. In addition to its financial support, GM is also granting Lyft access to short-term use vehicles by way of rental hubs throughout the U.S., and will provide Lyft drivers access to both their extensive network of cars and their OnStar services. These functions, GM believes, will “create a richer ride-sharing experience for both driver and passenger.”

Reflecting a clear recognition of the industry’s evolution, GM’s decision to partner with Lyft marks a shift from the one-car-per-person model. By adapting to the sharing economy, GM may be ensuring that it remains relevant in years to come.

“We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless, and autonomous,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.”

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There’s no word yet as to when we can expect to see the Lyft + GM autonomous vehicles on the road yet, but it certainly gives much larger rival Uber something to think about as it continues to pursue its own self-driving technology.

“Working with GM, Lyft will continue to unlock new transportation experiences that bring positive change to our daily lives,” said John Zimmer, president and co-founder of Lyft. “Together we will build a better future by redefining traditional car ownership.”