Business

GM to Deliver Autonomous Ride-Sharing Service to 'Multiple Cities' by 2019

GM to Deliver Autonomous Ride-Sharing Service to 'Multiple Cities' by 2019

Having a driverless ride-hailing service to use as a framework, GM will count on reduction in costs, autonomous technologies advancing, and growth in the rail-hailing market that will enable it to successfully launch a self-driving vehicle during 2019, said Dan Ammann the president of GM during Thursday's San Francisco investor event hosted by GM.

As for how many vehicles would be deployed and in what US cities, GM did not elaborate on that aspect of the announcement. And Ford plans to have a self-driving auto available for ride-hailing services by 2021. 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. He wouldn't say if the service would involve ride-hailing company Lyft, in which GM has invested $500 million.

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.

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That will help to drive the consumer to adopt it, which is vastly important to achieving profitability.

The outlook for when GM thinks it'll have a self-driving service ready roughly coincides with when Uber will begin taking delivery of 24,000 sport utility vehicles from Volvo Cars expected to be capable of piloting themselves. 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. It was a vindication of sorts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV CEO Sergio Marchionne, who placed his bets on Silicon Valley's ability to move faster on self-driving technology than traditional automakers.

"Large automakers typically aren't so bullish with their announcements, so GM likely recognizes the opportunity to establish leadership by committing to this very specific short-term goal", Jessica Caldwell, automotive analyst for Edmunds, wrote in an emailed statement. GM says the cost of the next-generation lidar will be cut by about half to $10,000. "We've basically taken some of the best technology in the market and accelerated its deployment". The Detroit News reports that Cruise Automation plans to add about 900 employees to its team by early 2018. After the afternoon presentation, shares of GM fell 1.8 percent to close at $43.04 while the broader markets ended higher.


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