The world of self-driving has a new contender. GM says that it’s planning to launch a ride-sharing service featuring its self-driving Chevy Bolts. The company says that it’s planning to get things going by 2019. GM would be ahead of its main rival Ford, which is planning to launch its own self-driving car without steering wheel or pedals by 2021.
The company’s top executives made the announcement during Thursday’s call with investors. The company also allowed reporters to take part in riding the autonomous cars through San Francisco, and many reported that the car was able to handle most situations, but did run into some trouble. This no doubt was another learning experience for GM, an ongoing learning experience at that.
With self-driving taxi service on the rise, GM is feeling the pressure from its competitors. Alphabet’s Waymo has been making great strides in their self-driving route and has even deployed a fleet of autonomous minivans in Arizona. It may be a little unfair to compare Waymo to GM since Waymo did have a big head start and its technology is more likely advanced than GM’s. On the other hand though, GM also has been on a buying spree to bring itself up to a leading competitor in both autonomous and electric car development.
Unlike the past, GM is up against nontraditional companies like Uber and Waymo that have had a good head start in this area. GM is trying to bring a scalable commercial product in just two years. The company didn’t say which cities it was planning to bring robot taxis to, but it would most like include bigger cities like New York City and San Francisco.