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GM touts worthwhile driverless fleets by 2019

04 December 2017

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. 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. GM added that there was still much more hard engineering work to be done.

The Detroit automaker made the announcement at an investor presentation in San Francisco Thursday, saying that based on its current rate of change, it expects "commercial launch at scale" of the autonomous vehicles within the next year or so.

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

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GM subsidiary Cruise Automation has been testing autonomous Chevy Bolts in San Francisco, Phoenix and Detroit. 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. An employee in the back will be able to stop the vehicle by pushing a button but won't be able to steer the vehicle.

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

With today's ride-hailing services, consumer do not have to be concerned with having sticker shock for the price of electric vehicles, and automation costs in the first few years will be expensive as well.

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The ambitious timeline could place GM in an enviable position: with the unique ability to provide existing ride-hailing companies like Lyft or Uber with a growing fleet of autonomous vehicles or, better yet, to unleash their own service.

"It's a big opportunity", GM President Dan Ammann said in an interview in San Francisco this week.

"We have been committed since we first started talking about our efforts and when we purchased a portion of Lyft to building self-driving cars that operate in a ride-sharing environment", Ray Wert, head of Storytelling and advanced technology communications at General Motors, said.

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She said her boyfriend saw Mariah around midnight when she got up and he told her to go back to bed. When they went to check on her in the morning, she was gone.

Already, GM is working on testing an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle.

GM touts worthwhile driverless fleets by 2019