By John D. Stoll
Lyft drivers are getting an upgrade.
The U.K.'s luxury-vehicle duo Jaguar Land Rover has invested $25 million in Lyft Inc., the latest auto company to strike a deal with the Silicon Valley ride-hailing company.
Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate on "mobility services", including self-driving cars, and certain Lyft drivers will be supplied with Jaguar or Land Rover vehicles, likely for testing purposes.
The partnership follows a wave of conventional auto companies pairing with a growing patchwork of tech companies, startups or companies not seen as conventional players in the car business on autonomous-vehicle technology and testing. For instance, Detroit auto supplier Delphi Automotive PLC said last week it is joining with French bus and train operator Transdev to deploy a self-driving on-demand transportation service this year using the parts maker's technology.
Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors Ltd., follows General Motors Co. as a Lyft investor. GM invested $500 million in the Uber Technologies Inc. rival in early 2016.
Lyft has struck deals with Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo unit and NuTonomy Inc. to work on technology. Lyft has plans to start testing autonomous vehicles in controlled fleets.
The investment comes via Jaguar Land Rover's InMotion venture arm and is part of a seed round that also included funding for SPLT, a Detroit carpooling startup.
"Lyft envisions a future where shared mobility will transform cities and improve people's lives," Lyft President John Zimmer said in the joint release. "This partnership will help us achieve that ambitious goal."
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