DETROIT | General Motors Co. said on Thursday it expects to deploy autonomous taxis and delivery vehicles in major US cities by 2019.
GM said in an investor presentation that according to its current exchange rate, it expects "commercial launch to scale". of autonomous vehicles in congested cities in 2019.
Its Cruise Automation unit is testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix, and has plans to test in Manhattan next year . The backup driver would be removed at the time of the commercial launch.
The automaker says it focuses on the safe implementation of autonomous vehicles, but also wants to beat its rivals in the market.
GM President Dan Ammann told investors that GM is in the lead to deploy vehicles in large quantities. Once they are on the road, the vehicle computers will learn and improve constantly.
"Getting the first learning curve is very important," he said.
GM is one of several companies that have announced plans to put vehicles that drive automatically on the road within a few years.
The Waymo division of Google will soon begin testing automatic driving vehicles in Phoenix without a backup driver in the front seat. An employee in the back seat can stop the vehicle by pressing a button, but can not drive the vehicle.
Delphi, an automotive supplier, has said it expects commercial vehicles to use its autonomous system in limited areas by 2019. Delphi recently bought the autonomous software company NuTonomy and is also partnering with BMW AG, the chipmaker Intel Corp. and the manufacturer of camera and mobile recognition software Mobileye.
The German manufacturer Daimler AG partnered with the Bosch supplier to develop autonomous taxis by the year 2020. And Ford plans to have a driverless car available for transport services in 2021.