GM Wants Autonomous Cars in Major Cities By 2019


General Motors is betting big on autonomous car technology. Let's look at it from a talent perspective.

In 2016, the company had about 90 employees dedicated to autonomous vehicles. Right now, the company has approximately 1,200 on staff, and it expects to increase that number to nearly 2,100 in 2018.

According to the company, the employees are sticking around, as GM's self-driving subsidiary, Cruise Automation, only has an attrition rate of less than 10 percent — GM bought Cruise more than a year ago for about $600 million.

According to slides made available on the company's website ahead of a webcast for analysts and investors, GM is still working on solving the two core tenets for potential self-driving car owners: get me where I am going, and get me there safely. Speed, cost, and in-vehicle infotainment are all secondary to a safe and accurate trip.

As reported to the Associated Press, GM hopes to have autonomous vehicles working in major metropolitan areas in 2019. Right now, Cruise is testing autonomous Chevy Bolts in Detroit, Phoenix, and San Francisco, although human backup drivers are still in the car.

The company has built 180 test vehicles that will log about a million miles per month by early 2018 as the company works to improve the cars' brain, simulation capabilities, mapping and routing technology, sensors, as well as safety and cyber security architectures.

The company notes that autonomous vehicles will be the biggest thing since the internet, and if they get the technology right, it's hard to argue with them. 

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