Dan Ammann, former General Motors president and the current CEO of the automaker’s autonomous driving subsidiary, Cruise, believes the world needs to “move beyond the car,” as we know it today.
In a recent blog post published through Medium, Ammann said we need to introduce technology that will help us move past using “the human-driven, gasoline-powered, single-occupant car as our primary mode of transportation.”
While Ammann acknowledges that public transportation and micro-mobility solutions such as Lime scooters can help alleviate congestion in cities and get some people out of their cars, he says autonomous cars will also play a major role in changing the way we get around. Cruise is intently focused on removing human drivers from cars, reducing emissions by being all-electric and reducing congestion via affordable ride sharing, Ammann says, so he thinks GM also contribute massively to the future of the mobility industry.
“To make order-of-magnitude — rather than incremental — improvements in transportation, we need to build alternatives that are superior to the status quo in every way,” he wrote in the blog post.
Cruise essentially wants to replace ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, which have small earnings per ride due to the high cost of paying their drivers. If Cruise or another competing company such as Waymo could ever produce a fully self driving vehicle, they’d be well poised to overtake both Uber and Lyft. Ammann envisions Cruise operating more like a private, mass transportation service, though, saying that ride-hailing apps “have disrupted the taxi industry with subsidized rides at the push of a button,” but they haven’t solved the problems, as Uber and Lyft vehicles are also clogging roadways.
“Despite making up less than 1% of all vehicle miles traveled, ride-sharing has added further congestion, more emissions, and potentially even decreased safety in our cities from over-tired and overworked drivers,” Ammann also wrote.
Developing working, self-driving technology is only one of the major hurdles Cruise has to overcome to help Ammann achieve this vision, though. The company also needs to get regulators on its side and convince them that driverless vehicles should be let lose on streets with other motorists without a safety driver. Convincing the public to take a driverless ride-share vehicle may prove to be a challenge, as well – though we imagine cheaper rides would be enough to convert most people into believers rather quickly.
You can read Dan Ammann’s Medium post in its entirety at this link.