The pace of GM’s attack on the self-driving-car space has been a wake-up call. As CEO Mary Barra explained on a conference call with analysts after earnings were announced, “GM and Cruise Automation recently deployed our latest generation self-driving electric test vehicle.” She added. “We believe it will meet the redundancy and safety requirements necessary to operate without a driver. It is our third generation of AV technology in just 14 months.”
The third-generation isn’t going to be around that long, however. In response to a question from Morgan Stanley analysts Adam Jonas, Barra said that “we’re working on our fourth generation, that’s where our focus is right now.” The GM-Cruise deal has led to the rollout of a fully integrated autonomous electric car — the tech is being built into Chevy Bolt EVs — that’s being fleet-tested in San Francisco, Detroit, and Phoenix, with New York City to follow in 2018.