There are dozens of companies working to bring autonomous driving to market and as many timelines to make a system commercially available. Most aim for the end of the decade or early next decade. Now GM and Lyft have leaked a timeline for their own system, which is currently under development with prototypes in San Francisco and Scottsdale.
It looks like GM, which already confirmed that they want to first use autonomous driving for taxi/ride-sharing with Lyft, plans to have a fleet in operation by January 2019.
The information comes from several Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings for the use of radio frequencies by experimental devices (radars) and a confidentiality agreement for the request, which states that the product would launch in 2019.
GM asked for permission to test 725 long-range radars and 2175 units of a short-range radar. IEEE‘s Mark Harris interpreted the requests as GM building a fleet of ~725 autonomous vehicles:
“Self-driving cars typically have one long-range radar facing forward, to detect cars up to several hundred meters away, and three short-range radars on the sides and back of the vehicle, with a range in the tens of meters. (2175 divided by three is 725.)”
The automaker was granted permission to use the devices until 1 August 2017, but again, as the confidentiality request highlighted, it looks like they don’t aim for the product to be ready until 2019:
“The duration of the entire experimental license shall cover the time until the market introduction, which is January 2019.”
GM is using radars from Conti Temic, a subsidiary of Continental.