As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the giant American automotive manufacturer, General Motors, invested $500 million into the ridesharing startup Lyft. This is the largest direct investment by a major automotive manufacturer into the ridesharing world thus far. What does all of this mean for GM and the direction of the auto industry?

For starters the move towards self-driving cars is gaining speed and momentum. Google has partnered with Ford to work towards building self-driving vehicles. Tesla and Uber, Lyft’s biggest competitor, both have self-driving divisions within the company. GM recognizes the landscape and finding a partner that wants to innovate and has a plan for the self-driving market is coup for the largest U.S auto manufacturer. GM, along with its competition, sees where the market is headed and wants to get out ahead of the curve with another company that has a strong vision for the future.

This move also strengthens GMs presence both domestically and abroad. GM and Lyft are already working on developing rental hubs in cities that would allow Lyft drivers to rent GM cars and trucks on a short term basis, ensuring that GM has a customer that is always in need of new vehicles. In addition to the advantages domestically, GM gains a presence and leverage internationally. Lyft has been a big player on the global rideshare market, partnering with Asian rideshare companies as well as garnering funds from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Rakuten Inc. These companies are now a stronger part of GM’s international network through Lyft, making it a more significant player in the global market.

The automotive industry, from car manufacturers to auto parts suppliers and from auto transporters to car buyers, is fast changing. Early players like Sidecar have come and gone. GM looks to be positioning itself for the seismic shifts that are coming.