Although Lyft is the second largest US ride-hailing company, it has continuously gained automotive partnerships while their main competitor, Uber has been battling lawsuits and bad PR. And now Jaguar Land Rover has announced they will join Lyft on developing autonomous driving technology and will also provide the ride-hailing company their vehicles for rent to their drivers. The automaker also disclosed their investment of $25 million in Lyft as part of a funding round closed in April, which valued the business at $7.5 billion. The investments from auto manufacturers show they are hedging their bets in the competitive ride-hailing market. Tata Group, which owns Tata Motors and Jaguar, had invested at least $100 million into Uber so far, and have already formed a financing partnership in India last year. Other major investors include General Motors, which is a major Lyft investor and partner, but also developed ties with Uber after forming a partnership with Lyft.
Lyft's new partnership comes just after a month of the announcement of the ride-hailing company is working with Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.. Waymo, which stands for "a new way forward in mobility," is a sister company of Google, which focuses on autonomous car development. The company is currently suing Uber over self-driving technology which they claim the company has stolen, even though Waymo's parent company is an Uber investor. Besides Jaguar and Waymo, Lyft is also working with GM on developing autonomous driving projects and they have recently struck a similar deal with startup company NuTonomy. "Different partners have different skill sets, and this is such a big opportunity," John Zimmer said, Lyft's co-founder and president. "Broadly speaking, it's going to play out over the next five to ten years,and it's critical that we have multiple partners in various spaces and geographies." Uber has their own set of allies. The company has made agreements with Daimler AG and Volvo Cars on self-driving technology. The company itself has also spent hundreds of millions on the technology developed in-house, which is already being field tested by customers on public roads. "We think this is a really long game," said Zimmer. "I used to run the mile. The mile is a four-lap race and we might be in lap two."