GM plans large scale launch

Dan Ammann left General Motors president and Kyle Vogt chief executive of Cruise Automation, pose with cars in the test fleet in San Francisco on Tuesday

The Associated Press reports GM made the announcement Thursday, Nov. 30 to investors.

The shift toward autonomous ride-hailing services is motivated in-part by the financial benefits of the plan, according to GM President Don Ammann.

President Dan Ammann told investors during a call today that fleets of the company's autonomous Chevy Bolt electric cars will be ready to deploy "in large scale, in the most complex environments, in 2019".

"We believe this technology will have a profound impact on the world".

The scandal slowed GM's comeback, but it also galvanized its executives to focus on making its cars safer, and ultimately to pursue development of fully autonomous vehicles. In October, the company announced plans to launch 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023.

The leadership of the company's chief executive, Mary T. Barra, was tested soon after she took over in 2014 when it was revealed that GM had produced millions of small cars equipped with faulty ignitions responsible for 124 deaths.

"We're committed to a future where we have zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion", Barra said.

On Thursday, GM will demonstrate its growing fleet of computer-operated, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco to dozens of investment analysts, who are eager to evaluate the automaker's advanced test vehicles.

GM shares have rallied this year as the company has tempted investors with its plans for the future. "The more you use it, the better it will get", Ammann said at the event. "The good news is we see a pretty clear path to how we can do that".

GM is a relative newcomer to the autonomous auto industry. The vehicles are expected to be used as delivery vehicles, and to help transport people.

This announcement comes more than a month removed from GM's acquisition of Strobe Inc, a LIDAR technology company whose engineering team is now on GM's Cruise Automation team.

"The question is: "Can GM deliver, and does Wall Street believe it?'"

Earlier this month, an autonomous vehicle testing zone opened in Stratford, Ont., allowing researchers to test self-driving technology in a range of everyday traffic scenarios.

GM subsidiary Cruise Automation has been testing autonomous Chevy Bolts in San Francisco, Phoenix and Detroit.

"We are somewhat losing out", Kirk said, pointing to Ford testing winter sensors for winter driving in MI, something that could certainly be done in Canada.

The carmaker will generate far more revenue with this business framework.

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