GM's Self-Driving Cars Could Hit The Roads By 2019

GM's Self-Driving Cars Could Hit The Roads By 2019

GM said that based on its current rate that it expects its autonomous vehicles to be at "commercial launch at scale" within the next year.

GM subsidiary Cruise Automation has been testing autonomous Chevy Bolts in San Francisco, Phoenix and Detroit.

"This business is potentially bigger than our current core business", Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens told the group.

More GM Future: What is coming standard on the new Silverado? "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".

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. Granted, Cruise has operated a pilot ride-sharing program for its employees in San Francisco for the past few months.

German automaker Daimler AG has teamed up with supplier Bosch to develop autonomous taxis by 2020. "The more you use it, the better it will get", Ammann said at the event. He wouldn't say if the service would involve ride-hailing company Lyft, in which GM has invested $500 million.

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Major automakers as well as technology leaders like Alphabet Inc and Intel Corp have poured billions into autonomous vehicle research, although fully self-driving cars are a work in progress.

"It's a big opportunity", GM President Dan Ammann said in an interview in San Francisco last week. Once they're on the road, the vehicles' computers will constantly learn and improve. By getting out there first, GM hopes to ride a rapid cost and technology improvement curve that will leave the competition far behind....

GM estimated the total ride-sharing market could reach $1.6 trillion once it hits 75 percent of all rides in the U.S. Now it's less than 1 percent.

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.

Investors apparently weren't impressed by the presentation or had already built autonomous vehicles into GM's stock price.

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