The latest investment in Lyft will send a fleet of luxury vehicles into the ride-hailing market — and they might one day be smart enough to pick up passengers on their own.
Automaker Jaguar Land Rover on Monday announced a $25 million investment in Lyft and pledged to supply a fleet of vehicles for the ride-hailing service as it conducts research on self-driving cars. Jaguar Land Rover announced the move through InMotion, its mobility-oriented investment fund.
InMotion says the move will be a boon to Lyft as it eyes expansion and upgrades for the self-driving technology it is testing. The deal will also help the mobility group test its own autonomous technology, InMotion said. In addition, Lyft drivers will eventually be able to rent Jaguar or Land Rover vehicles through a program similar to Express Drive, its existing rental service, Lyft said.
Jaguar Land Rover joins a slew of automakers and tech companies to have invested in the San Francisco-based ride-hailng company over the past year. Last year, General Motors announced a $500 million investment in Lyft in hopes of launching an eventual self-driving shared ride service. Lyft has also parnered with Waymo, the autonomous vehicle subset of Google’s parent company, and nuTonomy, a self-driving startup, in its self-driving vehicle research.
“Personal mobility and smart transportation is evolving and this new collaborative venture will provide a real-world platform helping us develop our connected and autonomous services,” Sebastian Peck, managing director of InMotion, said in a statement.
A Lyft spokesman said exact details on the deal were still “being worked out,” including how many vehicles Jaguar Land Rover will supply, what models will be tested and when and where they will be deployed. The fleet agreement is separate from the $25 million investment, Lyft said.
“We want Lyft to be the OS for autonomous vehicles – the place where consumers come to access the best autonomous vehicles from a variety of partners,” the spokesman said.
The British automaker’s $25 million investment came during Lyft’s most recent round of fundraising, which saw the Silicon Valley giant collect $600 million, according to the company.
“We’re excited to join forces with Jaguar Land Rover and InMotion,” Lyft President and co-founder John Zimmer said in a statement. “Lyft envisions a future where shared mobility will transform cities and improve people’s lives. This partnership will help us achieve that ambitious goal.”