General Motors is one of the few companies capitalizing on and making significant strides in self-driving car technology. Recently, the automaker’s vice president of global strategy, Mike Abelson, gave a glimpse into what future self-driving cars could look like at GM.
He told an audience at Citi’s Car of the Future conference in New York that individuals could request custom designs for purchase or lease in the future, a nod to the traditional business model. Specifically, the idea would work for areas where ride-sharing may not be prevalent for years to come, if ever, Reuters reported on Thursday.
GM also believes these vehicles could become part of a peer-to-peer car sharing service. Such a service would allow owners to rent their cars out when they’re not needed and provide a revenue stream for GM.
Abelson said GM is looking at several models for its future self-driving car strategy. The first will be to commercialize the vehicles in 2019 via some sort of ride-hailing service in an undisclosed city.
On the future design, tomorrow’s self-driving cars may look much more purpose-built than today’s vehicles. As technology advances, customers could ask for specific looks or features that suit their lifestyle. Abelson sounded certain future self-driving cars will feature radically different seating arrangements, especially without the need for a steering wheel or pedals.
GM is fairly bullish on the timeline, too. Abelson said the automaker foresees a time in 2025 when customers will be able to personally own self-driving cars.