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GM, Lyft Partner to Develop Driverless Taxis

FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, file photo, Logan Green, co-founder and chief executive officer of Lyft, displays his company's "glowstache" during a launch event in San Francisco. On Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, General Motors Co. announced it is investing $500 million in ride-sharing company Lyft Inc. GM gets a seat on Lyft’s board as part of the partnership, which could speed the development of on-demand, self-driving cars.

Self-driving electric taxis may soon hit the roads.

According to the Wall Street Journal, American car company General Motors Co. and ride hailing service Lyft Inc. will start testing Chevrolet Bolt cars as driverless taxis. They could be offering service “within a year,” the paper reported.

The first test will take place in an undisclosed city.

GM reportedly invested $500 million in Lyft, and the move is seen as a way to challenge Uber. GM also is planning to buy San Francisco-based Cruise Automation Inc. for a reported $1 billion. The company has been developing self-driving car technology for two years the Journal reported.

The move is also seen as a way for GM to sell the Bolt, which will be available later this year in a market for electric cars the Journal characterized as “soft.”

It is also seen as a way for GM to make up ground on Silicon Valley’s efforts to build driverless cars. Both Tesla Motors and Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, have been developing the technology for years.

Lyft reportedly is also developing driverless cars at its own research center in Pittsburgh. The Wall Street Journal said the company “is preparing for autonomous vehicles in its fleet by 2020.”

The papers said the development of driverless cars is hampered by “a patchwork of regulations that govern the use of autonomous vehicles and liabilities.”

To overcome some of those hurdles, Lyft reportedly will have drivers in the cars “ready to intervene” should something go wrong.