General Motors laid out its vision for self-driving vehicles on Thursday, telling financial specialists it plans to launch a fleet of completely independent robo-taxis in dense urban conditions in 2019, in a test to competitors, for example, Alphabet’s Waymo. GM says those mechanical vehicles — battery-controlled Chevy Bolts which are being produced by Cruise Automation, a subsidiary — will show up on American roads without a driver in 2019. The organization said vehicles won’t have human reinforcement drivers.
“We have been committed since we first started talking about our efforts, and when we purchased a portion of Lyft, to building self-driving cars that operate in a ride-sharing environment,” said Ray Wert, head of Storytelling and advanced technology communications at GM. “We’re very happy with how the technology is progressing and given that we feel we have the capability to move forward with one partner, many partners or no partners at all.” “We will pick the solution that helps us achieve our mission of safely developing and deploying self-driving cars at scale,” Wert added.
Underlining the potential opportunity ahead, GM President Dan Ammann told investors the lifetime income age of one of its self-driving autos could in the long run be in the “few hundred thousand dollars.” GM currently makes about $30,000 from a sale of its traditional vehicles. The No. 1 U.S. automaker – which sees electric and self-governing vehicles as the cornerstones of future transport – has been centered on producing self-driving autos since its assessed $1 billion procurement of startup Cruise Automation in mid 2016 that gave a foothold in the emerging business.
“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,” Ammann said on a conference call. “Safety will ultimately be the deciding factor on when to take the driver out of the car,” she added.
As of now, GM has said autonomous vehicles are a major component of its future, but did not give many more details. Presently, it has outlined more extensively its strategy, in which self-driving Bolts could be fabricated at large scale in GM’s current plants, driving down expenses, and quickly introduced in real metropolitan markets through a ride sharing company.
“We are the only company that has this under one roof,” Chief Executive Mary Barra said on the same call, distinguishing GM from its technology rivals in the autonomous sector.