The American automaker General Motors hopes to launch a fleet of autonomous taxis in 2019, the nose and beard of competition.
“If we continue at our current pace (…), we will be ready to deploy this technology on a large scale in the most complex environments in 2019,” GM President Dan Ammann told a conference call on Thursday evening with investors in San Francisco.
According to him, the autonomous car is “the greatest opportunity for companies since the creation of the internet”.
If GM achieved this goal, it would put it ahead of the competition, including Waymo, the subsidiary of Alphabet (parent company of Google), which began trials of small scale self-driving cars.
In general, automotive groups and tech companies, who have embarked on a real race, promise to put autonomous cars on the road between 2019 and 2022.
GM believes in “a future without accidents, no emissions (pollutants) and no traffic jams,” said Mary Barra, who has been running the company since 2014.
For GM, autonomous electric cars are a “platform” that will change the relationship to the possession of a vehicle: rather than selling cars at $ 30,000, the bet is that autonomous vehicles will be used for services car sharing, car sharing or taxis, generating “several hundred thousand dollars,” according to Dan Ammann.
For RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak, GM’s goal is ambitious.
The autonomous taxi “is a real opportunity and represents for GM potentially a paradigm shift that could change the situation,” he says in a note.
“GM believes that being the first is important, however, it could be argued that Waymo is the one who has the most advance because they have already launched autonomous taxis in Phoenix”, Arizona, he notes.