Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

GM to launch fleet of autonomous ride-sharing vehicles in 2019

GM to launch fleet of autonomous ride-sharing vehicles in 2019

General Motors Co.is one of many auto companies interested in the future of self-driving cars, and today the 109-year-old vehicle maker announced that it plans to launch its own autonomous taxi service in 2019, going head to head with similar projects being developed by traditional rivals like Ford Motor Co. and new competitors like Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc.

The No.1 USA 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.

The event represents a critical step for GM as it seeks to establish leadership in the hotly contested race to bring driverless cars to market.

To help realize its driverless dreams, General Motors purchased the autonomous driving company Cruise Automation in 2016, and there are now some 1,200 GM employees working in the auto manufacturer's self-driving division.

"Everything we are doing is geared to speed", GM's president, Daniel Ammann, told journalists at an event showcasing the cars Tuesday.

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Meeting that goal would probably give GM, the nation's largest automaker, a jump on other companies developing self-driving models.

This, in the timelines of how quickly automaker usually move, is surprisingly soon, but GM President Dan Ammann seemed confident, adding that with GM's vertically-integrated infrastructure for making self-driving cars, the General is able to move much faster than others in this area. But it also has a legacy of failures to overcome - none bigger than its collapse into bankruptcy in 2009.

GM announced in September that it was already preparing to mass produce a line of self-driving cars, and the following month the company revealed that it would be expanding its public road testing to include Manhattan.

This automated technology is being built into the Chevy Bolt, which is the company's affordably priced (around $30,000) all-electric vehicle. Those tests are taking place in San Francisco, Detroit, and Phoenix. The company plans to begin tests in New York City early next year.

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