GM scheduling robo-taxi service by 2019

GM is scheduling a large-scale self-driving car deployment in the U.S. in 2019. General Motors Co. on Thursday told investors to plan the launch of a robo-taxis fleet in several crowded urban areas by 2019 to compete Alphabet Inc's Waymo.

President of General Motors, Dan Ammann, says the lifetime earnings of one of the autonomous car services are in the range of "several hundred thousand dollars". Today GM collects an average of US$30,000 for one vehicle and mostly comes from initial sales.

Tinuku GM scheduling robo-taxi service by 2018

Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc. have invested billions of dollars into the industry to gain unlimited profits in the future. The robo-taxi service is seen as land for most autonomous vehicles, including Chevrolet Bolt from GM.

"If we continue at the current rate of change, we will be ready to apply this technology on a large scale in the most complex environment by 2019," Ammann said.

GM shares rose recently as investors looked to the autonomous and electric vehicles, although the company's profits were driven entirely by demand for trucks and SUVs in North America and ever-increasing sales in China.

GM says autonomous vehicles are a big part of the future. A broader strategy is to reduce the cost and efficiency of production time for immediate use in major metropolitan markets through robo-taxi services.

"We are the only company that owns this under one roof," said GM CEO, Mary Barra.

GM CFO, Chuck Stevens, said the robo-taxi service is potentially larger than the current core business with better margins. Autonomous vehicles for robo-taxi services increase revenue exponentially as they can continue to be used by many users throughout lifetime.

"We have a pathway to take 40 percent of the cost of travel services, lowering costs below US$1 per mile by 2025 from about US$2.50 today to generate a 20 to 30 percent margin," Stevens said.

Uber last week said it plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo owned by Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd of China, while GM in October acquired Lidar Strobe Inc. to lower the cost of the sensor system by 99 percent.