Conventional car manufacturers are getting serious about self-driving technology since they’re not the only ones competing in this arena, you have tech companies like Google and possibly even Apple working towards the same goal. General Motors recently made a huge investment for this purpose and it has now revealed that it’s first self-driving cars won’t be released to consumers directly but will be initially provided to ride-sharing platform Lyft.
This partnership is unlikely to surprise anyone considering the fact that just a few days ago GM announced that it was setting aside $500 million to built self-driving cars with Lyft.
Speaking at the North American International Auto Show GM President Dan Ammann said that the company’s first mainstream deployment of autonomous vehicles won’t be to customers, but to a ride-sharing platform.
“We’re going to have a car that operates only in downtown Austin that has a maximum speed of 30 mph and operates in controlled conditions.” he explained.
He further added that the autonomous cars will be personalized to Lyft users. Users will be able to configure their profiles with their preferences and settings so when the car does arrive their favorite Spotify playlists will be ready and the seat will be in their preferred position. They just have to get in the car and tell it where they want to go as long as the destination is in downtown Austin.
Ammann didn’t confirm when GM is going to start rolling out its self-driving cars to Lyft but did say that it’s going to happen sooner than it would take for a self-driving car to be offered for sale to the public.
Update: Lyft has reached out to clarify that there was some misunderstanding on part of the original reporter. GM President Dan Amman merely talked about Austin hypothetically, he didn’t confirm any specific plans. So far both GM and Lyft have not yet confirmed any details about the launch plan or timing for this self-driving on-demand ridesharing network.