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GM Wants to Launch a Full-Scale Autonomous Ride-Sharing Service in 2019

GM Wants to Launch a Full-Scale Autonomous Ride-Sharing Service in 2019

Waymo, which is Google's self-driving vehicle spinoff, was the first to take the driver out of the seat on public roadways earlier this month. Ammann told investors that the potential lifetime revenue from one self-driving vehicle could be "several hundred thousands of dollars", compared to the average $30,000 GM generates from a auto today, mostly from the sale itself.

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.

But GM, despite its vast experience in the traditional automotive sector, has its work cut out to catch upstart technology companies like Waymo and Uber.

The No.1 US automaker - which views electric and autonomous vehicles as the keystones of future transport - said it believes government regulations will support development of self driving cars in the coming few years.

GM has enjoyed a recent surge in its share price, as investors bet on its plans for self-driving and electric cars, although the company's profit is driven entirely by demand for trucks and SUVs in North America, and its growing sales in China. An employee in the back seat will be able to stop the vehicle by pushing a button but won't be able to steer the vehicle.

GM's Cruise Automation unit is testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix, and has plans to test in Manhattan next year.

Vogt said those issues would improve over time and that the victor of the self-driving vehicle race would be the one that first launches at "massive scale" rather than just being the first to market a model.

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

The largest USA automaker's plan for a self-driving car-sharing service comes at a time when auto sales in its home market are slowing after a record seven-year streak of gains.

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

The slides posted on GM's website also say the company is the leader in the field, but is focused on self-driving vehicles safety.

Over the life of a ride-hailing vehicle, GM could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Because GM has software and sensor development, as well as manufacturing, it can roll out autonomous vehicles cheaper than competitors, the company said.