In its most recent investor update, General Motors (GM) announced that it is aiming to launch a commercial fleet of fully autonomous robo-taxis in conjunction with a new ride hailing service to challenge the likes of Uber and Lyft by 2019.
“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 GM President, Dan Ammann, during the conference call.
The company is already operating a fleet of self-driving Chevy Volt’s in San Francisco, run by GM’s autonomous driving subsidiary, Cruise Automation.
GM also revealed that it would be able to operate competitively within the ride hailing market upon launch, having announced that the initial cost to passengers will be approximately $1.50 per mile – 40% cheaper than current services operated with a human driver.
The announcement also puts GM in competition with Alphabet, coming less than a month after Waymo revealed that it would be launching its own autonomous vehicle-based ride hailing service in the Phoenix area using Chrysler minivans.