General Motors to launch autonomous ride hailing service by 2019

04 December, 2017, 01:51 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • General Motors to launch autonomous ride hailing service by 2019

On Thursday, General Motors Co. announced to launch a fleet of fully self-driving cars in densely populated areas of the U.S.by 2019.

The carmaker will use the Chevrolet Bolt its all-electric auto as the autonomous guinea pig, dovetailing the autonomous projection in Thursday with the earlier pledge by GM to roll out a profitable platform for electric vehicles by 2021. GM does have a division dedicated to mobility services, Maven, but it focuses primarily on vehicle sharing, not ride-hailing.

GM has ample motivation to figure out ride-hailing. 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.

Abuelsamid said it makes business sense for mobility services like Uber and Lyft to shoulder the initial expenses of costly electric and autonomous vehicles. Those tests are taking place in San Francisco, Detroit, and Phoenix.

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.

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

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The vehicles will not include a human driver, yet will be able to navigate themselves around the most complex of urban environments - where today's self-driving technologies struggle the most. Waymo, the autonomous vehicle unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., earlier this month said it's about to start chauffeuring people in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV-supplied minivans without safety drivers manning the steering wheel. The backup driver would be removed at the time of the commercial launch.

GM's self-driving arm - Cruise Automation - is also finding ways to cut costs in the development phase.

"This is huge", Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said.

The bullish stance on autonomy comes just three weeks after- including two new vehicles in the next 18 months.

Autonomous ride-share represents the biggest business opportunity since the Internet and General Motors is determined to lead the way. The stock slipped 0.8 percent to $43.44 as of 12:20 p.m. Thursday in NY.

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