The race to get a fully autonomous robo-taxi fleet on the road is well underway. GM just announced its plans for launching a commercial fleet of self-driving ride-share vehicles in several dense urban environments, by 2019. This put them in direct competition with companies such as Uber and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, who are also trying to get their fleets on the streets.
GM president, Dan Ammann believes releasing autonomous taxi fleets into dense urban settings is a very lucrative opportunity. Where the sale of a car on average makes the company around $30,000, there’s a potential that just one self-driving car with this service could generate “several hundred thousands of dollars.” Companies like Waymo and Uber have been trying to get their slice of the pie, but GM is working quickly to get that first-mover advantage.
For a while, GM has said autonomous cars were going to be a big part of their future, but never really gave specific details on how. Now with the news of their robo-fleets, investors are betting on the success of their plans regarding self-driving and electric cars. They see deployment of their autonomous vehicles in just "quarters, not years." With the acquisition of Cruise Automation, the company has been able to work fast, giving a first look at the self-driving Bolts that have been testing in Phoenix, San Francisco and Detroit. After some kinks are worked out, the cars should be ready for busy urban streets.