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CAR TECH
GM sees 2019 launch for self-driving taxi fleet
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 1, 2017


GM recalling 1 million cars in China
Beijing (AFP) Dec 1, 2017 - US auto giant General Motors and its partners in China will recall nearly one million vehicles over a fuel tank issue, a Chinese regulator said Friday.

It is the latest recall to hit car companies in China in recent months.

GM and its joint venture partners SAIC and Wuling Automobile will recall 938,686 vehicles starting December 1, according to China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

The recall involves its tiny Baojun model, a very popular China-specific model that has shot GM's sales here upwards in recent quarters.

"Because of a supplier defect, some fuel tanks' ventilation hoses will split open with long-term use," the regulator said. "It's a hidden danger."

It said some 2014, 2015 and 2016 Baojun models will be recalled and have the defective parts replaced for free.

In September, General Motors and SAIC recalled more than 2.5 million vehicles in China over concerns about airbags made by troubled Japanese giant Takata.

The airbag defect had been linked to more than a dozen deaths and scores of injuries globally.

In China, the airbag recall involved 37 manufacturers and more than 20 million vehicles, of which 24 carmakers had recalled 10.59 million units by the end of June, the regulator said in September.

General Motors is aiming to overtake rivals by launching a large-scale fleet of self-driving taxis by 2019.

The US auto giant told an investor call its strategy is based on zero emissions and autonomous technology that will eliminate most crashes.

"If we continue on our current rate of change, we will be ready to deploy this technology in large scale in the most complex environments in 2019," said GM president Dan Ammann in the call Thursday.

Ammann said GM is betting on autonomous technology, calling it "the biggest business opportunity since the creation of the internet."

The plan for a 2019 deployment would likely put GM ahead of rivals such as former Google car unit Waymo, which has begun small-scale trials of autonomous cars, and Uber, which has ordered vehicles from Volvo for deployment between 2019 and 2021.

GM chairman and chief executive Mary Barra said on the same call that the company is planning "the next chapter in our journey in the transformation that is happening in this industry."

She said GM "believes in a vision and we are committed to a future where we have zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion."

GM sees autonomous electric cars as "platform" that will change the economics of car ownership -- instead of selling a car for $30,000, the autonomous vehicles will be deployed in car-sharing operations and generate "several hundreds of thousands of dollars," according to Amman.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak said GM's plan is ambitious.

"The autonomous vehicle ridesharing opportunity is real and represents a potentially game changing paradigm shift for GM," Spak said in a research note.

"GM believes they are on pace to launch a commercial (autonomous) ridesharing offering at scale in dense urban areas in the first quarter of 2019... GM believes first mover advantage is critical. However, some could argue Waymo has a first mover advantage as they launched AV ridesharing in Phoenix."

CAR TECH
Traffic-weary Chinese man fined for repainting road lines
Shanghai (AFP) Dec 1, 2017
A Chinese man fed up with sitting in traffic during his daily bus commute came up with a brazen way of solving the problem - repainting the lines on the road. The man, identified only by his surname Cai, was seen in surveillance footage painting his own arrows at a junction in the eastern city of Lianyungang to redirect the traffic as cars manoeuvre past him, the regional Modern Express new ... read more

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