GM Self-Driving Cars to Be Ready for Ride-Sharing in 2019

GM Self-Driving Cars to Be Ready for Ride-Sharing in 2019

GM Self-Driving Cars to Be Ready for Ride-Sharing in 2019

Ammann told investors that the potential lifetime revenue from one self-driving vehicle could be "several hundred thousands of dollars", compared to the average $30,000 GM generates from a auto today, mostly from the sale itself.

"If we continue on our current rate of change we will be ready to deploy this technology, in large scale, in the most complex environments, in 2019", said GM President, Dan Ammann, during the conference call. LIDAR technology uses light reflection to make high-resolution images to provide a clearer view of the road for cars, more so than cameras or radars, GM says. That was the message to shareholders on 30 November as the company confirmed plans to launch a commercial fleet of electric, autonomous vehicles (AVs) in urban centres in 2019. GM said there still was much more hard engineering work to do.

Some of GM's share surge has come from investors betting on its investments in self-driving and electric cars, although the company's profits are driven entirely by demand for trucks and SUVs in North America, and its growing sales in China.

The Cruise Automation team is now testing its self-driving Chevy Bolt - with a human backup - in Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco. By getting out there first, GM hopes to ride a rapid cost and technology improvement curve that will leave the competition far behind.... Waymo, formerly a Google company and now operated by Google parent Alphabet, also expects to offer fully autonomous driving by the start of the next decade, along with Uber and Tesla. An employee in the back will be able to stop the vehicle by pushing a button but won't be able to steer the vehicle.

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The analyst said it made business sense for the different mobility services such as Lyft and Uber to shoulder initial expenses for the costly autonomous and electric vehicles.

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

In October, GM bought lidar sensor technology company Strobe Inc, saying the company's technology could lower the cost of the key laser-based sensor on self-driving cars by 99 percent.

In a note to clients Friday, Barclays analyst Brian Johnson wrote that instead of the "overly-aggressive timelines pushed by Tesla", GM's ability to launch autonomous vehicles for a ride-sharing service now "seems possible".

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