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General Motors will sell personal autonomous vehicles by "the middle of the decade," the company's CEO and Chair Mary Barra said during her 2022 CES keynote presentation Wednesday.
While the company expects its self-driving subsidiary Cruise to be the first to launch a robotaxi service, Barra said the company is also pursuing personal AVs.
"We are looking further down the road at opportunities to extend fully autonomous vehicle technology to personal transportation with the safety and quality our consumers expect and with leading edge autonomous vehicle technology that will transform the ownership experience as we know it in pursuing multiple paths simultaneously," Barra said. "GM and Cruise are gaining significant technological expertise and experience and we are working to be the fastest to market with a retail personal autonomous vehicle. In fact, we aim to deliver our first personal autonomous vehicles as soon as the middle of this decade."
This is not the first time Barra has mentioned a goal of personal AVs. Barra first disclosed during an earnings call last May that it was exploring the idea of selling personal AVs by leveraging technology from its self-driving subsidiary Cruise.
Cruise, in which GM holds a controlling interest, is working on shared, electric, autonomous vehicles that will operate in dense urban areas and shuttle people and likely packages. The company testing its technology on public roads in San Francisco and late last year started giving employees access to hailing driverless (so without a human) rides. The service has yet to open to the public.
It's unclear exactly what vehicles would be autonomous — or more importantly how GM is defining autonomy — and if Cruise would still be involved in the effort. The self-driving vehicle subsidiary is going through its own executive upheaval while trying to launch its commercial robotaxi business.
Last month, Cruise CEO Dan Ammann unexpectedly left the company, with insiders claiming he was forced out. Kyle Vogt, who co-founded the autonomous vehicle company, and was the company’s first CEO, has taken over the role on an interim basis. Vogt has been serving as Cruise’s president and CTO. Wesley Bush, the former chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman and a GM board member, will join the Cruise board, GM said.
Even without the details, there is one important piece to consider: Barra has established a timeline.