GM’s Cruise Talks to Uber as Lyft Relationship Fades

General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit, Cruise, is in discussions to launch fully self-driving cars for Uber customers in San Francisco by next year, said two people with knowledge of the effort. The talks reflect a growing distance between GM and Uber’s main U.S. rival, Lyft, which previously engaged in a public love affair.

In early 2016, GM committed to launching autonomous vehicles on Lyft’s ride-hailing service. It was part of a broader partnership that involved GM investing $500 million in Lyft and getting a seat on the ride-hailing company’s board. But GM’s autonomous vehicles didn’t materialize, in large part because the technology wasn’t ready.

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Internally and in public, Mr. Vogt has said Cruise is improving the rate at which safety drivers must take over the vehicle, to the point where it could soon beat Waymo in that category. That seems difficult to believe, given the apparent wide separation between the companies in that regard, as of earlier this year. That said, Waymo’s self-driving cars have plenty of challenges of their own, underscoring how long the road will be to develop fully autonomous driving.

Dr. Anastassia Lauterbach commented on this article.
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The breakdown in the GM-Lyft partnership shows how alliances within the autonomous vehicle industry are evolving as firms hedge their bets.