Ola launches self-drive service in Bengaluru, to invest USD 500 mn

New Delhi: Ride hailing major Ola on Thursday launched 'Ola Drive', its self-drive service, in Bengaluru and said the company will invest upto USD 500 million in the next couple of years for it.

The Bengaluru-based company aims to host a fleet of 20,000 cars by 2020 under the service. It has been initially rolled-out for users in Bengaluru, with Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi to follow shortly, Ola said in a statement.

In the first phase, Ola Drive will be offered as a short-term self-drive car-sharing service as we look to introduce long-term subscription, corporate leasing, and more options in the future, it added. The company will initially invest about USD 200 million (about Rs 1,400 crore) and up to USD 500 million (about Rs 3,500 crore) in the next couple of years, Ola Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Arun Srinivas said.

"India's car-sharing market has immense potential and opportunity, which is yet to see a large-scale investment in technology and operations to make the model viable. Ola Drive...will play a transformative role in defining India's car-sharing market in the next decade," he added.

"Ola intends to host a fleet of 20,000 cars by 2020, 50 per cent more than the fleet size of the entire industry put together. With over 200 million subscribers, Ola Drive has the largest user base for a car-sharing service in the country," Ola said in a statement. All Ola Drive cars across segments will come equipped with Ola's connected car platform 'Ola Play', enabled through a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment device, and will include GPS, media playback, and bluetooth connectivity.

Users will also have access to the platform's support and safety features such as a 24/7 helpline, emergency button and real-time tracking.

The service will also include roadside assistance to ensure a reliable, secure and comfortable driving experience, the statement said.

Under Ola Drive, users can choose to book a car of their choice for as little as two hours by paying a security deposit starting at Rs 2,000. Earlier this year, Ola had run a small-scale pilot of the self-drive service in Bengaluru. The launch of self-drive service will pit Ola against the likes of Sequoia Capital-backed Zoomcar and Y Combinator-backed Drivezy.

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