How tech and auto companies are racing to be the first to roll out self-driving cars. The stakes are high for everyone involved. The self-driving revolution and the prevalence of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft threatens to reduce individual car ownership, which would eat into a sizable piece of automakers’ core business
General Motors plans to mass-produce self-driving cars that lack traditional controls like steering wheels and pedals by 2019, the company announced today. Its a bold declaration for the future of driving from one of the country’s Big Three automakers, and one that is sure to shake things up for the industry as the annual Detroit Auto Show kicks off next week.
The car will be the fourth generation of its driverless, all-electric Chevy Bolts, which are currently being tested on public roads in San Francisco and Phoenix. And when they roll off the assembly line of GM’s manufacturing plant in Orion, Michigan, they’ll be deployed as ride-hailing vehicles in a number of cities.
Ford’s overly cautious approach could help them win over consumers. Consumers were already skeptical about self-driving cars, but after an autonomous Uber vehicle struck and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona last March, people have been even more leery. Three-quarters of people surveyed by Pew in May said they’d prefer human drivers, even if self-driving cars were readily available; half of respondents said they’d never want a self-driving car. Before the March crash, companies were racing to get their products to market as quickly as possible. Now they are taking steps to highlight their commitment to safety before rolling out their vehicles to a skeptical public
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