GM plans large scale launch

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

He told investors that the revenue generation of one self-driving auto could eventually hit "several hundred thousands of dollars", compared to the $30,000 that GM collects per non-autonomous vehicle, on average.

GM said at an investor presentation that based on its current rate of change, it expects "commercial launch at scale" of the autonomous vehicles in congested cities in 2019.

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 cars have a back up driver in case something goes wrong, but it is possible the back up drivers would be eliminated when the commercial launch happens in over a year. 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.

In an announcement yesterday, the firm said it believes government regulations will support development of self driving cars in the coming few years. GM said there still was much more hard engineering work to do.

Delphi, an automotive supplier, has said it expects commercial vehicles to be using its autonomous system in limited areas in 2019.

GM's self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, gave reporters rides on Tuesday, the first public roadtrips for non-employees in its cars which have been tested in San Francisco, Phoenix and Detroit. Delphi recently bought autonomous software startup NuTonomy and is also partnering with BMW AG, chipmaker Intel Corp. and camera and visual recognition software maker Mobileye.

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GM says operating its self-driving cars will cost 40 percent less per mile than other ride-hailing firms that have to pay drivers.

Abuelsamid said it makes business sense for mobility services like Uber and Lyft to shoulder the initial expenses of costly electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM is far from the only traditional automaker investing in autonomous technology and ride-hailing services.

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

As it refines the performance of its cars, GM has the capacity to rapidly build and deploy more self-driving vehicles to other markets around the world.

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