General Motors, like many traditional automobile manufacturers, has no illusions about what ride-sharing apps and driverless cars will do to the level of personal car ownership. So it is beginning to lay the foundation for its own ride-sharing services. It pumped $500 million into Lyft, the largest US competitor to Uber, which was once a close competitor, but now trails far behind. And today Bloomberg reported that GM has acquired employees and technology left over from Sidercar, a ride-sharing service that shut down in December of last year.
GM gets the tech Sidecar put into building its app and driver network, along with its co-founder and chief technical officer, 20 employees, and crucial patents. The sale price was reportedly less than the $39 million the startup raised in venture capital. GM's not alone. Ford is reportedly looking into building or buying a similar service, and the German automaker Daimler AG has already snapped up a pair of ride-sharing apps.
Back in October GM unveiled a pilot program for ride-sharing out of a single apartment building in Manhattan. In its report today Bloomberg stated that GM's broader ambition has been nicknamed Maven, and would allow GM owners to pick up up and charge passengers heading in the same direction. That would help explain why the company is also working on its own set of maps.