On Thursday, General Motors announced it is launching a “personal mobility brand,’’ a ride-sharing program called Maven.
Maven is a “highly personalized, on-demand mobility service’’ that allows customers to use an app to look for and reserve vehicles, search by vehicle type such as a sedan or truck, and use certain remote control features such as unlocking doors, heating or cooling, or starting the vehicle.
Maven will make its debut in Ann Arbor, Michigan. GM will make the service available to students and faculty at the University of Michigan and 21 parking spaces around the city will be devoted to Maven.
Ann Arbor participants will be able to rent vehicles for $6 per hour, which includes the cost of fuel and insurance. They can also communicate directly with Maven leadership via the WhatsApp messaging service about their experiences. GM said it plans to offer Maven’s car-sharing services in Chicago and New York to serve a total of 5,000 residents.
“GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility,’’ said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement. “With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.’’
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In terms of a “highly personalized’’ experience, Maven allows customers to sync their preferences to the vehicle through their smartphones and offers access to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, Sirius XM radio, and 4G LTE wireless technology.
GM’s vice president of Urban Mobility Julia Steyn sees Maven as a significant step in addressing mobility challenges down the road.
“With more than 25 million customers around the world projected to use some form of shared mobility by 2020, Maven is a key element of our strategy to changing ownership models in the automotive industry,’’ said Steyn in a statement.
With the creation of Maven, it appears clear that General Motors intends to take changes to the driving experience very seriously. The move comes after GM announced it was partnering with ride-sharing service Lyft in a deal valued at $500 million. Under the agreement, the two companies will work on the development of self-driving cars.
Earlier this week, the automaker bought the now-defunct ride-sharing company Sidecar.
GM is not the only automaker that sees mobility changing and aims to stay ahead of the curve. Last year, Ford announced its Smart Mobility Plan, a large-scale initiative that aims to tackle mobility, connectivity, and the research and development of self-driving cars.