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Ola launches self-drive service Ola Drive

Ola has launched a self-drive service ‘Ola Drive’ in Bengaluru, and to be rolled out shortly in Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Mumbai. Ola plans to invest about $20 million and aims to increase this to $500 million in the next few years. Ola said the service will have a fleet of 20,000 cars by 2020.

How will Ola Drive work? Ola will introduce the service through pick-up stations located across different residential and commercial hubs. Users can book a car at least two hours prior, deposits begin at Rs 2000. Ola Drive will offer hatchbacks, SUVs, sedans and luxury cars.

Ola Drive will initially be a short-term service, and will later introduce long-term subscription, corporate leasing, and other options, Ola said. It will include the in-cab entertainment service Ola Play, and will also have safety features such as 24/7 helpline, emergency button, and roadside assistance. It appears that all cars on the service will include GPS, media playback, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Ola also has bike and electric verticals: Last month, Ola announced the expansion of the Ola Bike service to 150 cities across the country. The company is also trying to bring electric vehicles on board. In June, a Reuters report, citing a person familiar with the development and records of government meetings, said that the government is pushing Ola and Uber to convert 40 percent of their fleet of cars to electric by April 2026.

Self-drive car services faced issues in Ladakh: In 2015, self-drive car services such as Zoomcar and Myles had to advise its users to exercise caution if they were planning or traveling to Ladakh, as taxi unions in Ladakh had revolted against them. The taxi union had claimed that self-drive cars are taking the revenue away from its traditional/local business.

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