GM to launch fleet of autonomous ride-sharing vehicles in 2019

04 December, 2017, 01:49 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Two self-driving Chevy Bolt EV cars are seen during a media event by Cruise GM’s autonomous car unit in San Francisco California

The automaker invested $500 million in Lyft previous year, but Lyft seems to have grown closer to Waymo and GM rival Ford recently. That's one reason Cruise has used the battery-powered Bolt for self-driving technology: Electric cars have fewer mechanical parts and should require less maintenance, he says. "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".

General Motors Co. has laid out a plan to not only mass-deploy self-driving cars on public roads in 2019, but to do it profitably - something the automaker's disruptor competitors in Silicon Valley are struggling to achieve.

The Cruise Automation team is now testing its self-driving Chevy Bolt - with a human backup - in Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco. 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. 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's why we're committed to the aggressive timelines that we're committed to", he said.

More news: Jimbo Fisher Reportedly Named Texas A&M HC After 8 Years at FSU

Google's Waymo, German automaker Daimler and Ford are also developing self-driving cars that would be available for ride-sharing services.

Dan Ammann, president of GM, told investors on December 30 that the potential revenue from a single autonomous auto working as a taxi is far greater than that of comparable cars sold by GM today.

Tesla, which now sells electric cars with some autonomous features, but says they already contain the hardware to one day be fully autonomous, also has its eyes on running a driverless taxi service in the coming years, provided by owners' cars operating while they are at work, asleep or on holiday. However this announcement helps to solidify the industry speculation that autonomous vehicles will eventually be the sole vessels for ride-hailing services - and, if done strategically, automakers like GM can highly profit from the shift. "While the vehicle drove conservatively (i.e., taking time, strictly obeying speed limits, checking carefully at both sides before turning at an intersection), we'd also note that the driving environment was quite complex".

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