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

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

The shift toward autonomous ride-hailing services is motivated in-part by the financial benefits of the plan, according to GM President Don Ammann.

It is now unclear how GM's ride-hailing service will compete with industry rivals like Uber, or how exactly GM will market its services.

Vogt said those issues would improve over time and that the victor of the self-driving auto race would be the one that first launches at "massive scale" rather than just being the first to market a model. GM shares rose 26 percent this year through Wednesday's close, compared with a 4 percent gain for crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. "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".

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General Motors' announced yesterday that it plans to introduce an autonomous ride-sharing service to several big cities in 2019. GM believes it's too early to discuss branding, but the first cars will likely be versions of the Chevy Bolt EVs Cruise is testing now. 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.

GM is trying to create self-driving cars that need minimal maintenance and upkeep, like aircraft that hold up well to constant use, Vogt says. "The faster we can do that the greater impact we can have on society".

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. Last month, Volvo announced plans to provide Uber with up to 24,000 vehicles for a fleet of driverless taxis that are expected to appear on American streets in 2019.

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GM considers autonomous vehicles the "biggest business opportunity since the creation of the internet", a market with with multitrillion-dollar potential that goes hand-in-hand with electric vehicles.

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

With today's ride-hailing services, consumer do not have to be concerned with having sticker shock for the price of electric vehicles, and automation costs in the first few years will be expensive as well.

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