London welcomes two on-demand e-hailing apps, Toyota partners up with Grab, Lyft takes on the US & more

Welcome to our weekly news roundup, the place where you can find the most important information about urban mobility every Tuesday. Without further ado, here are the news highlights from last week:

Toyota’s investment in Grab

The Japanese automaker, Toyota will invest around $55 million dollars in Southeast Asian e-hailing platform Grab. The investment is meant to be part of the earlier announced $2.5 billion round, lead by Didi Chuxing. Only a year ago, Toyota acquired a small stake in Uber, but now it is looking to expand its reach in Asia through new partnerships. Automakers continue their investments in on-demand mobility technologies, plenty of them through investments in ride-sharing companies. According to Goldman Sachs, the ride-hailing market is poised to grow eightfold by 2030, and automakers do not want to lose the opportunity to be part of that.

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Lyft expands in the US — now at reach of 98% of its citizens

Last Thursday, Uber’s main competitor in the USA, announced its expansion to 32 more states. Lyft was previously only available in 8 out of the 50 American states but now, the pink-mustache ride-sharing platform will cover 40 states. In a statement, Lyft mentioned that now 94% of the whole US population would have access to its services. As a second mover, Lyft has been able to learn from the pitfalls of its main competitor and presented itself as the friendlier and cooler app, enabling its fast growth in the United States.

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Daimler brings Via to London

Daimler-backed Via has announced that it will launch its pool-riding services in London later this year. Via currently operates only in three major American cities, namely New York City, Washington, and Chicago. The Amsterdam-based startup has plans to expand further in Europe, and it will do so with the help of the $200 million investment lead by German automaker Daimler. Besides the revenue opportunities that ride-sharing firms can provide to traditional automakers, these are also able to address certain pressing issues of society:

“On-demand ride-sharing offers many new ways of making city traffic efficient, needs-based and sustainable,” Volker Mornhinweg — Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans

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Taxify arrives in London

The Estonian ride-hailing startup which recently received an undisclosed amount of funding from Didi Chuxing has now launched in London. Taxify currently operates in 19 countries across the world, but now it is taking its chances to conquer the UK’s capital. Throughout September, it will offer 50% off on all rides, and it will not activate surge pricing. Although Uber’s success in London is undeniable, with Taxify having Didi and Via Daimler as backups, they might give the American startup a hard time in the upcoming months.

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Siemens acquires Tass International

Germany-based and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe, Siemens, has recently acquired a TASS International. The Dutch company which specializes in developing autonomous driving and safety softwares, will enable Siemens to offer complete solutions for the current and future needs of the automotive industry. Given the huge disruption the industry is undergoing, self-driving technologies seem to be just about the right investment for one of the leading engineering companies in the world.

“The automotive industry is a core focus for Siemens and our acquisition of TASS International is another example of our commitment to offer a complete Digital Enterprise solutions portfolio, enabling automotive companies to realize their digital transformation and fully benefit from all opportunities of digitalization.” Dr. Jan Mrosik, CEO of Siemens’ Digital Factory Division.

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