GM sees self-driving vehicles in cities in 2019 (GM)

Ivan Schwartz
December 4, 2017

GM says those robotic vehicles - battery-powered Chevy Bolts that are being developed by Cruise Automation, a subsidiary - will appear on American streets without a driver in 2019.

Ford Motor Co.is targeting 2021 for the launch of its first fully autonomous vehicle, which would likely be rolled into a mobility service. GM does have a division dedicated to mobility services, Maven, but it focuses primarily on vehicle sharing, not ride-hailing. Using their vast dealership networks, nationwide influence and manufacturing prowess, a GM-driven ride-hailing service may be positioned to leapfrog the Silicon Valley startups that have been trying to disrupt the auto industry. The automaker invested $500 million in Lyft a year ago, but Lyft seems to have grown closer to Waymo and GM rival Ford recently.

Vogt said those issues would improve over time and that the victor of the self-driving vehicle race would be the one that first launches at "massive scale" rather than just being the first to market a model.

After spending more than a year putting the pieces in place to launch a robotaxi business, GM said Thursday it expects to have a fleet of self-driving cars in operation in 2019.

GM's self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, gave reporters rides on Tuesday, the first public roadtrips for non-employees in its cars which have been tested in San Francisco, Phoenix and Detroit. At those locations, engineers have a chance to refine the vehicle's self-driving capabilities and the still-precarious rider experience ahead of the ambitious deadline. Once they're on the road, the vehicles' computers will constantly learn and improve.

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"That's why we're committed to the aggressive timelines that we're committed to", he said.

GM, which invested $500 million in Lyft in 2016, says it sees a "clear path" to reducing the cost-per-mile of ride-sharing services to under $1 by 2025.

German automaker Daimler AG has teamed up with supplier Bosch to develop autonomous taxis by 2020.

Dan Ammann, President of General Motors (GM) told investors, the lifelong revenue generation from self-driving cars could reach up to the "several hundred thousands of dollars". However this announcement helps to solidify the industry speculation that autonomous vehicles will eventually be the sole vessels for ride-hailing services - and, if done strategically, automakers like GM can highly profit from the shift.

"There were no disengagements", he wrote.

Other reports by GizPress

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