But can General Motors pull it off?
General Motors will attempt to leapfrog competitors in the race to self-driving cars over the next few years. On Thursday, the automaker announced plans to launch a large-scale autonomous ride-hailing service in multiple U.S. cities in 2019.
"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," GM president Dan Ammann said at an investor meeting in San Francisco, according to Reuters. GM CEO Mary Barra added that the company can meet this target because it has all of the necessary resources to manufacture and deploy self-driving cars "under one roof."
The self-driving car scene includes three types of players: Tech companies that supply hardware and software to make vehicles autonomous, ride-hailing companies providing a potential commercial outlet for autonomous vehicles, and automakers that build the cars themselves. While many companies are engaging in partnerships, GM wants to play all three roles itself.
GM's 2016 purchase of Cruise Automation gave it access to autonomous-driving tech. In September, Kyle Vogt said its autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars are ready to operate in the real world without a driver, unrestricted. GM already builds the autonomous cars on the same assembly line as the conventional Bolt EV, making large-scale production feasible.
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