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50 hot startups 2017

Ola launches self-drive business

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Out of 300 million motor vehicles registered in India, only 10,000 cars operate in the self-drive space, data shared by Ola indicated.
BENGALURU: Ola has launched its self-drive business, a move aimed at broadening the homegrown ride-hailing platform’s portfolio of transportation solutions.

The company will invest more than $200 million this year to scale up the business, and a total of $500 million over the next couple of years, chief sales and marketing officer Arun Srinivas told ET.

“We see many other opportunities we can get into using the capabilities that we have built. For instance, this could spin off into other car-sharing use cases like subscription, leasing, etc.,” he said. In March, ET reported that Ola would invest more than $500 million to launch a ‘self-drive’ service.

The company started with a pilot of 500 vehicles in four hubs in Bengaluru — Marathahalli, Whitefield, Koramangala and MG Road. Over the next one year, Ola aims to expand to a fleet of 20,000 cars.

“India’s car-sharing market has immense potential and opportunity, which has yet to see a large-scale investment in technology and operations to make the model viable,” said Srinivas. The company claims that its offering is 30% cheaper than other market options.

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At present, the self-drive rental car sector is highly fragmented, comprising mostly small regional players and some larger one such as Miles, Sequoia Capital-backed ZoomCar and Y Combinator-backed Drivezy.

India’s self-drive market remains largely underpenetrated. Out of 300 million motor vehicles registered in India, only 10,000 cars operate in the self-drive space, data shared by Ola indicated.
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