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

The automaker's president Dan Ammann reportedly said during the event that GM now makes about $30,000 per sold vehicle, but that it could make hundreds of thousands per vehicle through ride-hailing and delivery services. Instead of testing its vehicles on a closed course or in a "simple suburban setting", Wert said, the company has opted to test the vehicles in an environment that resembles where they'll actually be deployed.

Company executives didn't say how many vehicles GM would deploy or what cities they would be in, but they were clear that the company plans to run ride-hailing and delivery services and quickly make money off them - at higher profit margins than it now makes from selling cars and trucks.

Waymo, which is Google's self-driving auto spinoff, was the first to take the driver out of the seat on public roadways earlier this month. 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. It announced in November that it would launch a self-driving robo-taxi service in suburban Phoenix, carrying its first passengers in the next few months.

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.

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

Its Cruise Automation unit is testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix, and has plans to test in Manhattan next year. While Google has been experimenting with driverless vehicles since 2009, GM only secured a toehold in the industry when it acquired startup Cruise Automation for an estimated $1bn in 2016.

The No. 1 USA automaker - which views electric and autonomous vehicles as the keystones of future transport - has been focused on rolling out self-driving cars since its estimated $US1 billion ($F2b) acquisition of startup Cruise Automation in early 2016 that provided a toehold in the nascent industry.

"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", Ray Wert, head of Storytelling and advanced technology communications at General Motors, said.

GM stock fell 72 cents to $43.09 at market close Thursday.

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