This was not a car dispatched by Uber or Lyft, the two tech companies that are the Coke and Pepsi of ride-sharing services. Instead, the vehicle belonged to the company that made it, BMW Group, through a service it owns called ReachNow.
The ride-sharing service represents the latest effort by a car manufacturer to get a grip on the technological trends that could disrupt their businesses by making vehicle ownership — and eventually even drivers — unnecessary. BMW and Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz, are two of the most aggressive carmakers building their own “mobility services” to prevent Silicon Valley’s upstarts from keeping all the spoils themselves.
For both, a major focus has been building short-term rental services; customers drive themselves. On Thursday, ReachNow branched out to ride-sharing (in which drivers pick up passengers) by expanding a small private test of the service in Seattle to all of the service’s members in the city.
Both Daimler and BMW said their current mobility services were […]