GM To Go Large-Scale With Self-Driving Cars In U.S. In 2019

1 week ago by Mark Kane 76

General Motors – Autonomous driving – Presentation

General Motors told investors that it is planning a commercial launch of self-driving vehicles at a large scale in U.S. in 2019, seeking bold revenue opportunities.

Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV enters fast lane

According to GM, robo-taxis could generate “several hundred thousands of dollars” of revenue over its lifetime, compared to $30,000 on average that GM’s gets from the initial sale.


GM: We Believe all AVs must be EVs


In 2016, GM acquired Cruise Automation and engaged it to develop fleet of autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs.

One of the main goals for the future is lowering the costs of autonomous vehicles. GM decided to equip the Bolt EVs with all the stuff for self-driving from in-house components. Chief Executive Mary Barra said:

“We are the only company that has this under one roof.”

A key element in GM’s self-driving technology, Lidar, is expected to cost $300 at some point in the future (huge decrease from $20,000 today). To make it reality, GM recently acquired Lidar company Strobe Inc. that promised 99% cost reduction.

Eliminating the driver will reduce taxi costs significantly and the owner of the fleet still should be able to achieve 20-30% margins.

“Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said a robo-taxi service could be “potentially bigger than our current core business, with better margins.”

“We have a path to take 40 percent of the cost out of ride services,” Stevens said on the same call. Lowering the cost to below $1 per mile by 2025 from about $2.50 today could result in margins of 20 to 30 percent, he said.”

General Motors – Autonomous driving – Presentation 

General Motors – Autonomous driving – Presentation 

General Motors – Autonomous driving – Presentation 

Here is how the autonomous fleet will be used:

General Motors – Autonomous driving – Presentation 

General Motors – Autonomous driving – Presentation

And all the pieces of development:

General Motors – Autonomous driving – Presentation

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76 responses to "GM To Go Large-Scale With Self-Driving Cars In U.S. In 2019"

  1. Assaf says:

    I wish they were nearly as bold in pushing more EV models to market, and better tailoring them to the American consumer tastes with which they are so familiar (hint hint: larger).

    The current crop of Bolt/Volt are best suited for export, which – again – GM has been ridiculously timid on. The Bolt alone can easily sell ~50k units/year in Europe and East Asia.

    Regarding AV, I believe they are discounting the potential downsides from early-generation mishaps and the inevitable lawsuits.

    So my 2 cents to GM (which of course they’ll never use) are to trade off some of that over-boldness on AVs, with a long-overdue boldness on EVs.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Is there any Chevrolet presence in Europe? If not, how are they supposed to sell them there?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Well, one thing is certain: If GM doesn’t open up any dealerships in Europe, they certainly are not gonna sell cars there!

        Some GM divisions may have gotten a bad name back in the seventies and eighties, when American auto makers were making cars with lousy quality, and that reputation certainly hasn’t helped sales. But GM settling for ridiculously limited sales thru Opel for the Bolt EV… that’s just a recipe for failure. GM should take a bold step toward selling cars in Europe again. If they need to create one or more new badges to do so, then they should go ahead an do that. But as my Grandma used to say: “‘Can’t’ never did anything.”

        Or, to quote Yoda: “Do — or do not. There is no try.”

      2. acevolt says:

        There are a few dealers in Germany and throughout Europe that sell Cadillac, Corvette’s, Camaro’s and Suburbans. They probably don’t sell many though:

        http://www.lehmann-automobile.com/marken/cadillac/cts-v-sedan.html

      3. EVShopper says:

        Mary Bara has said Europe could be back on the table if GM can see a path toward profitability there.

    2. Dav8or says:

      Why is it that Europeans and Asians can happily live their lives with smaller, but you can’t?

      Why must cars be bigger? I’m not saying there is no place for a big BEV, I feel the Tesla Model S is just that, but I don’t get why people feel like they have to wait until there is an exact drop in replacement for the big ass car they drive now?

      Try a small car. Chances are you’ll actually love it.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        People are not suddenly going to start living more frugally, more efficiently, less wastefully, living in smaller homes and driving smaller cars, just because you (or I) think they ought to.

        If certain auto makers decide to offer only small cars because they think people “ought to” drive those, all that means is that they will cut themselves off from the market for larger cars.

        Auto makers have to make and sell cars that people actually want to buy. If they don’t, they won’t stay in business long. If you need a historical example of what happened when an auto maker decided to try to persuade people to buy a car they didn’t want, just look at what happened with the Edsel. Not exactly a good business model, is it?

      2. EVShopper says:

        Need a huge culture change campaign to make driving smaller cars seem more manly and sexy.

    3. Chris O says:

      Bolt’s main mission is compliance so it’s basically phased out in Europe where GM no longer has any compliance issues.

      1. EVShopper says:

        Opel (now PSA) has big compliance issues. The Ampera-e was supposed to be a big part of that. But PSA has to raise the price on the Ampera-e because they were unwilling or unable to lose money on the car just for compliance. So now PSA is scrambling on electrifying their model lineup.

    4. EVShopper says:

      GM has plans for 20 New EV models in the next 5 years. Including larger SUVs.

  2. Gasbag says:

    Who were the experts saying AVs wouldn’t be here until 2030?

    1. yogurt says:

      I thought the experts always said everything is vaporware…
      Of course their true expertise is in FUD…

    2. CDAVIS says:

      @Gasbag said: “Who were the experts saying AVs wouldn’t be here until 2030?“
      —————

      I’m no “expert” but I say pilotless (no driver in car) taxis won’t be here before 2030… except perhaps in limited test/demonstration taxis deployments or in short-haul shuttle deployments … which some of both of those deployments already exist.

  3. J P DeCaen says:

    Of course GM won’t be the only one with autonomous vehicles, so when all of this autonomy creates widespread unemployment, don’t expect life to get better for the average 99 percent. Unemployment will drive wages down and reduce government services for everyone. It sounds like whining until it happens to you. Thanks, auto industry.

    1. Jason says:

      Yes, our whole social structure and economic models need to change. Massive unemployment and increasing leisure time will have huge impacts and increase the divide between the haves and have nots.

      1. Roy_H says:

        Wealth needs to be spread around. This is the government’s job. I think GAI Guaranteed Annual Income is the way to go, replace welfare with a government check to every eligible voter sufficient for subsistence living. No claw-back for working, but adjust income tax so net tax remains same. Higher income people will get the GAI but pay it back in taxes.

        1. The Dude says:

          +1

          And fund it with a carbon tax.

        2. TwoVolts says:

          It’s a great idea that will not be implemented in America. The extremely wealthy control the politicians and will not let it happen.

        3. Rightofthepeople says:

          God I hope you’re joking.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            You think the super-rich should be able to keep destroying jobs through automation, and have the “right” to keep nearly all newly created wealth for themselves just because they are already rich? All the while congratulating themselves on being “job creators” even while destroying jobs as fast as they can?

            Well, now we know that you’re part of the 1% and not part of the 99%, don’t we?

            1. TwoVolts says:

              I agree with your post. However, it is much more likely that Rightofthepeople is not part of the 1%. There are many in the 99% that are brainwashed by Fox News and other media to oppose their own economic self interest in deference to the interest of the 1%. People need to wake up. The economy we are leaving to our kids is one of part time, low paying gigs with little or no benefits. We have utterly failed the next generation, and it will continue to get worse for the foreseeable future.

              1. Rightofthepeople says:

                Given the choice between a consolidation of power with the uber rich individuals and large corporations of the private sector, or the consolidation of power with government, I will choose the former every time. Only government has the power of the police state to rule and intimidate peoples’ lives.

                1. TwoVolts says:

                  ROTP,
                  You don’t know the history of labor in your own country. Private companies had their own police forces and we’re not shy about using them to intimidate and even kill workers. Today, government is not the alternative to corporate power – it is the ally. Government and corporate power work together today. Government serves the 1%, and that will not change any time soon.

                  So you apparently fear the way things were in the USA in the 1950’s when there was a commitment to public schools, parks, projects (e.g., the Interstate system) and common welfare.

                  1. Warren says:

                    Companies built and owned towns, and printed their own money, which was used to pay employees, and accepted at company owned stores.

                    The ignorance of history is no accident.

                2. TwoVolts says:

                  ROTP,
                  I’m curious how libertarian you are. Do you support the government’s ability to conscript their citizens to go fight (and die) in foreign wars?

            2. Rightofthepeople says:

              Technological innovation benefits society and almost always “destroys” jobs as you say. Following your line of thinking, do you think society would be better off today had we never “allowed” the invention of the automobile? After all, all those farriers and saddle makers etc lost their jobs when people stopped riding horses in favor of those new fangled horseless carriages. How about all those coal mine workers who have lost their jobs as we move toward more renewable energy sources like wind and solar?

              All tired arguments. No, my position is that it is not the government’s job to spread wealth around as Roy suggested. That is not what is done in a free society, and it is not what these United States were created to do. There are plenty of nations on earth who believe that is the proper role of government, so if you agree perhaps you and Roy should relocate. Understand Pu-Pu I’m not trying to kick you out of Kansas or the US, I’m simply pointing out you have options.

              As for your suggestion that I must be in the 1% because I disagree with absolute socialism, I find that both simplistic and insulting. By pure definition, no I am not in the 1%. I am what most would consider on the upper end of the middle class, but I’m still very careful with how I spend and save my money. But more importantly, why should that matter? Why should my income have any bearing on the weight given my opinion? Should rich people not be allowed to express their opinions freely? Isn’t that just as bad as suggesting poor people should not be allowed to express their opinions? At the end of the day, we are all people in a (somewhat) free society and we should all be able to express our opinions and have an open dialogue without having others shout us down because we belong to some group they don’t like.

              I expect better from you Pu-Pu.

              1. TwoVolts says:

                ROTP,

                “Technological innovation benefits society and almost always “destroys” jobs as you say. Following your line of thinking, do you think society would be better off today had we never “allowed” the invention of the automobile? After all, all those farriers and saddle makers etc lost their jobs when people stopped riding horses in favor of those new fangled horseless carriages. How about all those coal mine workers who have lost their jobs as we move toward more renewable energy sources like wind and solar?”

                This is a pretty good argument. However, it deals only with the issue of one technology being replaced with something else. It does not address the coming revolution in how work is done, and who (or what) is doing the work. In the near future, we may see jobs in the entire transportation sector obliterated. That is not only taxi drivers, but all cars, rail, trucking, and air transportation. There will still be taxis, trains, trucks, and airplanes – just no humans driving. What new ‘invention’ or technology is created for displaced workers to migrate to when this occurs? There is none.

                You state that you are upper end of middle class. I do not know your circumstances, but there are many that are still doing well financially and reside in the upper middle class – in many cases because they have jobs where they offer employers valuable technical knowledge or expertise. AI is coming for these jobs – and in spades. When AI advances to its inevitable destiny, it will literally be able to do everything better, faster, smarter, and more productively than their human counterparts. If your job is migrated to AI, it is purely a transfer of responsibility. It does not represent an opportunity in a new technology (as in automobiles replacing horse carriages or solar replacing coal).

                This is why your argument does not apply in the coming brave new world.

              2. super390 says:

                Then why are the words “to provide for the general welfare” in the Constitution? Once we get to 90% underemployment and personal bankruptcy, what will that mean?

        4. Dav8or says:

          This crap idea has traditionally been called welfare here and being “on the dole” overseas. It’s a terrible idea and widens the gap between the haves and the have nots and solves nothing.

          A much better idea is to keep people productive and working and that means not just automating their jobs just because you can, or want to make more profit. It means thinking about the other human beings around you rather than the cool new robot that could make you big bucks.

          Of course, humans being what they are, will always try to screw and devour their fellow humans for their own benefit…

          1. TwoVolts says:

            Congratulations. You’ve successfully rebutted yourself. The screwing will only accelerate from now on.

        5. Scott Franco says:

          “Wealth needs to be spread around. This is the government’s job. I think GAI Guaranteed Annual Income is the way to go, replace welfare with a government check to every eligible voter sufficient for subsistence living. ”

          Absolutely. To each according to his need, from each according to his ability.

          1. super390 says:

            It would hardly be from each according to his ability when a handful of Americans already own half of all its wealth.

      2. TwoVolts says:

        Absolutely correct. That is why Trump and Hillary spent so much time on their plans for dealing with this during the presidential campaign.

    2. Dav8or says:

      * “Eliminating the driver will reduce taxi costs significantly and the owner of the fleet still should be able to achieve 20-30% margins.” *

      Until those unemployed drivers start to set fire, blow up and tip over your robot taxis. Then it gets messy.

      To hell with the owner’s margins, workers need to work. Silicon Valley has pretty much declared war on the middle class and the lower classes with every stupid new thing they invent. They’re so drunk with their own successes, that they even invent new ways to illuminate their own jobs!

      1. TwoVolts says:

        Substitute ‘Wall Street’ for Silicon Valley, and you will have identified the correct party responsible for driving margins, reducing costs, and ‘creating shareholder value’. Silicon Valley is a convenient scapegoat – but they are not the top of the pyramid.

      2. Gasbag says:

        they even invent new ways to illuminate their own jobs!

        Hence the Illuminati!

        I’ve made a successful career out of automating things and eliminating my own job. Automate, optimize, document it, and move on.

        You can rant all you want about the evils of tech but that isn’t going to stop it. AI is going to accelerate the inevitable. The Basic Income idea is the best one i’ve heard to avoid a revolution but I don’t think there are many societies ready for it. It is going to have to get worse before people will support it but we are on course for that.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “Until those unemployed drivers start to set fire, blow up and tip over your robot taxis. Then it gets messy.”

        Right, because that always works so well for Luddites and neo-Luddites.

        /sarcasm

    3. Kdawg says:

      You’re right. We should burn down our cities and all become farmers like the Amish. That way everyone will be guaranteed a 12 hour workday. Forget about happiness/progress/life-expectancy/etc.

  4. bro1999 says:

    Cruise Automation: best acquisition GM has ever made.

    1. Chris O says:

      A company that only needs $100K worth of lidars and a couple of dozen assorted radars and cameras to achieve fully autonomous driving is definitely priceless.

      1. Kdawg says:

        Not sure if you missed this in the article, but another GM acquisition, STROBE, plans to bring the cost of LIDAR down to $300

        1. Chris O says:

          Well, Powerpoint says so, so it must be true. It’s only a 99% cost reduction while more than doubling range and improving reliability, how hard can it be right?

          We’ll see but remember: everything works in Powerpoint.

  5. John G says:

    So I suppose we should look to North Korea as having the ideal social system to provide maximum happiness, innovation, etc. Without monetary incentives and the ability to accumulate wealth nobody wants to work much less innovate. That’s why “spreading the wealth” always fails once you have spent all the wealth you’ve confiscated.

    1. Gasbag says:

      You aren’t following. Monetary incentives and wealth accumulation are central to the Basic Income plans.
      In essence you demonstrate you aren’t willing to listen which is understandable. As the percentage of strugglers grows I think People will be more open to Basic Income.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      You have utterly failed to understand the problem. North Korea shows the direction America is headed, with the few super-rich kleptocrats at the top keeping all the country’s wealth for themselves, and letting the rest of the country go to Hades while its people starve.

      1. Rightofthepeople says:

        You just described socialism. Remember, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

        1. TwoVolts says:

          ROTP,

          “You just described socialism.”

          Huh???? Is this how life is in socialist Norway? Quit with the phony North Korea straw man BS.

    3. TwoVolts says:

      Hey John,
      How about Norway as a model instead of North Korea?

      https://youtu.be/OjvRYwuHNFw

      You have a point about monetary incentives to work and innovate. However, can we not instead build a just and compassionate society that provides basic needs for all of our citizens AND financial incentives and rewards for those that are willing to work hard? Shouldn’t that be the model, instead of your phony ‘North Korea’ straw man?

      America overwhelmingly regards itself as a ‘Christian’ nation – all the while showing utter disregard for the well being of their neighbors. There is certainly very little love of neighbors in America as Jesus has been demoted below the likes of Ayn Rand.

  6. Benz says:

    AI is inevitable.

    AI is going to have a major impact on many aspects of our lives and on the world whole during the next decade and thereafter.

    Autonomous Vehicles are just narrow AI.

    The purpose and function of AI must remain to serve mankind. Otherwise circumstances are going to get pretty bad for us. Therefore we must stay in command and in control of AI.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “The purpose and function of AI must remain to serve mankind. Otherwise circumstances are going to get pretty bad for us. Therefore we must stay in command and in control of AI.”

      You need to quit worrying about the Boogeyman of robots and computers taking over the world. Computers and robots have no innate desire to control anything, or even preserve their own existence. They will exhibit such behaviors only if some human programs them to behave that way.

      The very real threat is what is already happening every day: That the super-rich 1% (or even the 1% of the 1%) are using robots and computers to deprive everyone else of decent jobs, so the very rich can hoard all of the world’s wealth for themselves. They’re using computers and robots to help them. You need to recognize where the real threat lies, and that’s with those humans who control the computers and robots.

      1. TwoVolts says:

        “You need to quit worrying about the Boogeyman of robots and computers taking over the world. Computers and robots have no innate desire to control anything, or even preserve their own existence. They will exhibit such behaviors only if some human programs them to behave that way.”

        You don’t understand AI. They are not merely robots and computers, programmed to obey a set of human-written commands. As the name implies, they will have autonomy in ‘thinking’. They will write their own code. That is the nature of AI. Many people on the AI forefront are very nervous. Musk referred to AI as ‘summoning the demon’. I trust his understanding of the potential threat. What is your AI technical background?

        1. Gasbag says:

          You don’t understand AI. They are not merely robots and computers, programmed to obey a set of human-written commands. As the name implies, they will have autonomy in ‘thinking’. They will write their own code. That is the nature of AI.

          +++ Thank you for writing that. AI is not rules based programming inspite of common misconceptions.

  7. Chris O says:

    So all GM needs is a 99% reduction in lidar cost and it’s all set to go?

    Looks like an other example of “everything works in Powerpoint”

    1. Rick says:

      Of course, GM always knows better than everyone, funny how they’re called a leader yet you can’t even buy their products that are autonomous and they’d cost 150k with all hose Lidars, radars, heavy computers etc. That’s not a consumer product, it’s an impractical nerdy experiment. Until they have an autonomous EV consumer product sold worldwide with nicely integrated hardware, they’re just like the dozens of other companies testing autonomous cars. They have no advantage over others like Nissan. It’s just hype, nothing more.

      1. TwoVolts says:

        General Motors told investors that it is planning a commercial launch of self-driving vehicles at a large scale in U.S. in 2019, seeking bold revenue opportunities. They are beyond the “nerdy experiment” stage, and intend to make money next year.

        1. Bro says:

          And when GM says something will happen by a certain date, you know it’ll actually happen. Unlike Tesla.

          1. Chris O says:

            99% cost reduction while more than doubling range and improving reliability all in 1-2 years?

            I think GM is setting itself up for a Tesla moment here.

    2. TwoVolts says:

      If they can generate several hundred thousand dollars in revenue per robo taxi, they don’t “need a 99% reduction in LIDAR costs.” Hence, the plans to roll this out as a commercial enterprise next year as LIDAR costs continue to drop, and make the future returns even more lucrative.

    3. Gasbag says:

      Rio-Tinto (a large mining entity) has been using AV tech on large Komatsus for some time. Although it has been expensive it is much cheaper than paying drivers. The costs are declining rapidly and capabilities of the tech are improving.

      Like it or not it is coming and it won’t stop with low end jobs.

  8. Rick says:

    They’re losing money with their limited edition econobox and it has 100k worth of ugly equipment all over it. I don’t think I’ll see those in 2019. What they probably mean is a few in big American cities, which is irrelevant to the rest of the world. Also the narrative of autonomous cars seems centered around robot taxis in cities so people won’t need to own cars. Yet none of these services work outside cities, on highways etc. Why would I want to go around in a car in cities anyway? Such a waste of time. GM seems to also have copied the hyping from Tesla with obviously crappier cars.

    1. Gasbag says:

      You have to compare the costs against the encumbered cost of a team of drivers that will work 24 x 7 x 52 for several years. If one assumes a very low encumberance cost of 25% and a five year life of the hardware that costs $100,000 then the AV tech compares favorably to a driver making less than $2 per hour.

      Cameras and radar devices are dirt cheap. Low cost lidar became available in sample quantities last year. Production units are slated to be available in the first half of 2018. You can expect products using low cost lidar to hit the market in 2019. I doubt there will be more than a year or two of regulatory delays. Expect to see them in most major cities by 2021.

  9. JoeInTheUK says:

    The elephant in the room is the increased traffic such a scenario will generate, if they ever appear, which i doubt.

    (It was only a few months ago that an “AI” EV was unable to back up out of the way or even merely sound the horn when a vehicle approached it at the terrifying speed of 3mph.

    And we are meant to believe they can now drive and act the same way as a human driven car. Yes, *now*, because if they can do it by 2020 they are already in final testing. If they arent, forget 2020.)

    Anyway, back to increased traffic, if I drive to work and park, that’s one journey. If I autonomously travel to work its 3 journeys, one for car to me, one for car to work, one for car to next passenger.

    This is aside the fact that experience shows that cheap Uber and Lyft type services including ride sharing are displacing public transport not personal. So that’s even worse, maybe one bus journey for 50 autonomous trips. All making 3 journeys instead of one.

    This would be a big problem if it wasn’t for the fact that full autonomous driving is emperors new clothing and wont happen except *possibly* in a few very constrained environments like city centres. Once people have had the experience of being stuck behind an object an AI car cannot deal with for 20 minutes and give up and get out (if the car lets them 🙂 this will wither and die on the vine.

    1. TwoVolts says:

      JoeInTheUK,

      “Anyway, back to increased traffic, if I drive to work and park, that’s one journey. If I autonomously travel to work its 3 journeys, one for car to me, one for car to work, one for car to next passenger.”

      It is 2 journeys – not 3. Your ‘one for car to me’ leg is the ‘one for car to next passenger’ leg of the previous rider’s trip. You cannot double count them.

      Still, you have a point about increased traffic.

      1. JoeInTheUK says:

        A fair point, though if it doesn’t have a ride immediately it will need to go somewhere perhaps to one of these car parks we are told wont be needed (I dont know where proponents of autonomy think cars will go between journeys if its not to car parks, will they just roam the streets endlessly?)

        So, somewhere between 2 to 3 journeys replacing 1. And even doubling would be catastrophic in most conurbations. “Hey ”
        Los Angeles residents we can save you $1 on your taxi ride, but it will take an extra 5 hours longer as the place really has gridlocked now”

        1. TwoVolts says:

          Yep. I agree. The ‘correct’ answer is somewhere between 2 and 3.

  10. JyChevyVolt says:

    What do people assume autonomous vehicles are for them? It clearly made for corporations.

    1.4M Lyft drivers, gone.
    ??M Uber drivers, gone.
    Delivery drivers, gone.

    Welcome to the future. No Elon, you can’t take the ultra rich to Mars while we riot and destroy Earth.

    1. Rightofthepeople says:

      Like every technological revolution, it won’t happen overnight (although after the fact it will feel like it did). At first Uber and Lyft will offer autonomous rides at some discount and many/most will still choose to pay a bit more for a human driver (I can hear it now, “I’m not getting in a car with no driver, I’ll pay extra b/c it’s safer!”). But some (me, for one) will choose the AV car and enjoy the ride while saving money. And as we start to tell others of our experience, and as the data and stats prove AVs are safer than human driven vehicles, more and more people will start taking the AV option to save money. As this occurs, the drivers who see the writing on the wall will begin to find work elsewhere because they realize at some point they will no longer be needed.

      It will be a transition over several years. Some people, particularly those who move slowly, will be adversely affected. But society as a whole will benefit from reduced costs and more efficient use of resources. And life will go on.

  11. Loboc says:

    “Anyway, back to increased traffic, if I drive to work and park, that’s one journey. If I autonomously travel to work its 3 journeys, one for car to me, one for car to work, one for car to next passenger.”

    It’s one long trip vs one short trip. This will reduce the number of cars due to higher utilization. It will also free up expensive real-estate for parking.

    1. TwoVolts says:

      Lobos,
      Actually, it will reduce the number of cars owned but will still increase traffic – but not as described. The example of autonomously traveling to work is 2 journeys – not 3. The ‘one for car to me’ is the same as ‘one for car to next passenger’. In fact, it is exactly the ‘one for car to next passenger’ leg of the previous rider’s trip. Cannot count this one twice for all riders.

      1. TwoVolts says:

        Sorry. Loboc. Got autocorrected to Lobos.

    2. JoeInTheUK says:

      Why is it one long trip vs one short one?
      My distance to work is still the same irrespective I drive or go in a taxi !

      Anyway, this is all pie in the sky, people wont give up ownership just because someone shaved a dollar off a taxi ride, and the proof is, Mercedes, Tesla, BMWs, Audi, Lexus drivers havent all switched to Ford, Kia, Honda, Toyota where they could save far more than dropping car ownership altogether, and nor have Ford, Kia, Honda, Toyota drivers switched en-masse to Uber instead, despite the fact the cost savings are realisable today if they want to.

      1. Gasbag says:

        people wont give up ownership just because someone shaved a dollar off a taxi ride, and the proof is, Mercedes, Tesla, BMWs, Audi, Lexus drivers havent all switched to Ford, Kia, Honda, Toyota where they could save far more than dropping car ownership altogether,

        At the low end people will give up the expense and hassles of ownership for the cost benefits alone.

        At the upper end we’re comparing the cost of maintaining that ‘95 Honda vs the convenience and prestige of use of a chauffeured luxury vehicle. For those who want more prestige shared use of a super car is now affordable and it can be on an as desired basis meaning if I only want the super car for dates I only need to pay for it then. If I want a van because I have guests Or I want a truck to haul a refrigerator I have only to reserve it for the time I need it and pay on an as needed basis.

  12. Gasbag says:

    Still, you have a point about increased traffic.

    Actually it has been estimated that it would result in an increase in miles driven but a dramatic decrease in traffic and time in traffic due to fewer vehicles. How dramatic will largely depend on how willing the public is to ride in a vehicle with a potential stranger.

    1. TwoVolts says:

      ‘Increase in miles driven’ corresponds to ‘dramatic decrease in traffic’? How exactly does that work? In an advanced autonomous driving world with a new paradigm of ride sharing instead of car ownership, there are ‘fewer vehicles’ as you state. But they are on the road a much higher percentage of the time (per vehicle). That translates to more traffic, as has been illustrated by JoeInTheUK. Please explain.

  13. super390 says:

    The claim that jobs will always be created to offset automation doesn’t take into account the Gilded Age, where instead of a permanent automation crisis, improvements in productivity set into motion a boom-bust cycle where jobs would expand but wages wouldn’t – thus requiring personal debt to keep demand growing. Eventually demand would collapse and the unregulated banks would follow, leading to exactly the conditions that the critics of automation are talking about. The problem is, the cycles were getting worse during the era (1873, 1893, 1896, 1907, 1919) until an existential crisis in the 1930s. Then for 50 years the US had no Depressions, and we all forgot how unregulated markets gyrated. The cycle is back now, folks. Personal debt covers up the falling real wages of most people, until the next market crash makes us unable to buy the technology that we build.

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