GM's Self-Driving Cars

On Thursday, General Motors Co. announced to launch a fleet of fully self-driving cars in densely populated areas of the U.S. by 2019. The auto manufacturer intends to strengthen its position in the industry.

Dan Ammann, President of General Motors (GM) told investors, the lifelong revenue generation from self-driving cars could reach up to the “several hundred thousands of dollars.” This is greater than GM’s average revenue of $30,000, generated from initial sales.

GM foresees electric and self-driving vehicles as the vital part of the future of transport. The company has plans to launch self-driving cars since its acquisition of startup Cruise Automation for an estimated price of $1 billion in early 2016.

“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,” said Ammann on a conference call.

He added that safety will be the ultimate decisive factor for the autonomous car industry.

Other auto manufacturers and rivals including Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc. have invested billions into the self-driving industry. Each of them has endeavored to gain the first-mover advantage.

Robo-taxi services are considered as the most important part for self-driving vehicles.

GM has always outlined that self-driving vehicles were a major part of its future, but it did not reveal further details. It has highlighted that its strategy was to scale up existing plants of GM for manufacturing self-driving cars, reduce costs, and operate the vehicles in major metropolitan areas through ride services.

The large-scale launch is expected to bring disruption in the self-driving industry.