Following the likes of Apple, BMW, Daimler, General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] and Google, which have all made major investments in ride-sharing in recent years, Toyota and Volkswagen on Tuesday came out with their own announcements regarding a segment that could potentially end the car ownership model for millions of people worldwide. Two more industry giants have announced major investments in ride-sharing.
Toyota has invested an undisclosed sum in Uber and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ride-sharing business. The MoU covers several potential areas of collaboration including sharing of R&D as well as a lease program where instead of making payments the vehicle owner can simply offer rides to Uber users.
Uber is also a leader in autonomous driving technology. The company is about to start public road trials of autonomous car prototypes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and as part of the collaboration with Toyota may share some of its developments. A similar partnership exists between GM, ride-sharing business Lyft and autonomous car development firm Cruise Automation.
Meanwhile, VW has partnered with ride-sharing business Gett (formerly GetTaxi), investing $300 million in the Israeli startup. The German firm says it expects to generate a substantial share of future revenues from mobility services, one of which will be an on-demand autonomous taxi service.
Gett is currently active in 60 cities worldwide including major hubs such as London, Moscow and New York City. It originally started as a taxi hailing business but continues to evolve and now includes delivery and logistics services.
The investment in Gett is part of a new overarching strategy at the troubled German automaker to be announced in the coming week. The strategy will outline VW’s future plans up until 2025.
There’s an incredible amount of interest in ride-sharing right now and this is only set to grow as the various services on offer become more popular and continue to pass regulatory hurdles. As mentioned above GM has partnered with Lyft and is reportedly due to start an autonomous taxi service as early as 2017. In addition, Google, which is developing its own autonomous car technology, recently launched its own ride-sharing service Waze Rider, and Apple, which is thought to be developing its own autonomous technology, announced this month it had invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-sharing business Didi Chuxing.