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Dan Ammann, President of General Motors (GM) told investors, the lifelong revenue generation from self-driving cars could reach up to the "several hundred thousands of dollars".

GM is trying to create self-driving cars that need minimal maintenance and upkeep, like aircraft that hold up well to constant use, Vogt says.

The Detroit automaker made the announcement at an investor presentation in San Francisco Thursday, saying that based on its current rate of change, it expects "commercial launch at scale" of the autonomous vehicles within the next year or so. Waymo, the autonomous auto unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., earlier this month said it's about to start chauffeuring people in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV-supplied minivans without safety drivers manning the steering wheel.

"Getting first onto that learning curve is pretty important", he said. An employee in the back will be able to stop the vehicle by pushing a button but won't be able to steer the vehicle.

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Delphi, an automotive supplier, has said it expects commercial vehicles to be using its autonomous system in limited areas in 2019. While others like Ford are just announcing partnerships to start bringing self-driving cars to the road, GM has already had self-driving Bolts humming around the streets of San Francisco, Phoenix, and other cities for some time. Delphi recently bought autonomous software startup NuTonomy and would also partner with BMW AG, chipmaker Intel Corp and camera and visual recognition software maker Mobileye.

Tesla, which now sells electric cars with some autonomous features, but says they already contain the hardware to one day be fully autonomous, also has its eyes on running a driverless taxi service in the coming years, provided by owners' cars operating while they are at work, asleep or on holiday.

Abuelsamid said it makes business sense for mobility services like Uber and Lyft to shoulder the initial expenses of costly electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM, like rival automakers and technology leaders including Alphabet Inc, has poured billions into autonomous vehicle research, although fully self-driving cars are a work in progress. He repeated Chief Executive Mary Barra's promise in October that GM would roll out self-driving cars within "quarters, not years".


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