American automobile giant General Motors Co. (GM) is reportedly preparing to deploy thousands of self-driving e-cars in test fleets in collaboration with ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc., starting next year.
Multiple anonymous sources familiar with GM's plans revealed the automaker has plans to allow Lyft to test thousands of specially equipped versions of its Chevrolet Bolt e-cars in various states in the U. S.
Without revealing their plans, GM executives have also indicated that the company could partner with some ride sharing platform for the company autonomous vehicle business in the future.
In November last year, GM executive Mike Ableson said, "If you assume the cost of these autonomous vehicles, the very early ones, will be six figures, there aren't very many retail customers that are willing to go out and spend that kind of money. But even at that sort of cost, with a ride sharing platform, you can build a business."
According to the sources, it would be the largest such test of self-driving cars by an automaker before 2020, when many other companies will start testing their autonomous vehicles. Google's Waymo subsidiary is currently testing just sixty self-driving prototypes in a total of four states.
Last year, GM acquired a San Francisco-based startup called Cruise Automation to accelerate the development of its own self-driving cars. Later, it paid $500 million to acquire a minority stake in Lyft, and launched a car sharing business called Maven, which provides GM vehicles to Lyft.
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