General Motors set out its vision for self-driving vehicles on Thursday, informing investors it prepared a commercial launch of fleets of completely autonomous robo-taxis in several dense metropolitan environments in 2019, in a challenge to competitors such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.
Highlighting the possible opportunity ahead, GM President Dan Ammann informed investors the lifetime revenue generation of one of its self-driving cars might eventually be in the “numerous hundred thousands of dollars.” That compares to the $30,000 on average that the automaker collects today for one of its vehicles, mainly derived from the initial sale.
General Motors – which views electric and autonomous automobiles as the keystones of future transport – has been focused on presenting self-driving vehicles since its estimated $1 billion acquisition of start-up Cruise Automation in 2016 that provided a toehold in the nascent market.
Automakers and competitors such as Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc have poured billions into the competitive industry, with each one wanting to get first-mover benefit. Robo-taxi services are viewed as the main use for a lot of self-driving vehicles, consisting of GM’s Chevrolet Bolt.
“If we continue on our present rate of change we will be ready to deploy this innovation, in big scale, in the most complicated environments, in 2019,” Ammann stated.
Safety, Ammann said, will eventually be the deciding aspect on when to take the driver from the vehicle.
General Motors has enjoyed a recent rise in its share rate, as investors bet on its plans for self-driving and electric cars, although the company’s revenue is driven completely by demand for trucks and SUVs in North America, and its increasing sales in China.