Underscoring the potential opportunity ahead, GM president Dan Ammann told investors the lifetime revenue generation of one of its self-driving cars could eventually be in the "several hundred thousands of dollars".
"If we continue on our current rate of change, we will be ready to deploy this technology in large scale in the most complex environments in 2019", Ammann said at a press and investor event in San Francisco, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Earlier this month, GM said it would launch a range of electric vehicles in 2021 in a direct challenge to market leader Tesla, which is struggling to ramp up its more affordable, high-volume Model 3.
"Looking for a clear path" screens facing the driver and passengers read several times during the trip, when the auto stopped next to some traffic cones or behind double-parked vehicles.
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. While others like Ford are just announcing partnerships to start bringing self-driving cars to the road, GM has already had self-driving Bolts humming around the streets of San Francisco, Phoenix, and other cities for some time. 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. Delphi recently bought autonomous software startup NuTonomy and would also partner with BMW AG, chipmaker Intel Corp and camera and visual recognition software maker Mobileye.
GM didn't say exactly where it plans to launch its driverless ride-hailing service, but identified "dense urban environments" in the.
The analyst said it made business sense for the different mobility services such as Lyft and Uber to shoulder initial expenses for the costly autonomous and electric vehicles. He wouldn't say if the service would involve ride-hailing company Lyft, in which GM has invested $500 million.
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.