Following the popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber, car manufacturers are exploring new vehicle alternatives to move into the ride-sharing business.
Automotive industry titan General Motors (GM) is one of the companies looking to break in and has announced that it will be bringing a “form of transportation innovation to Toronto” that could potentially involve self-driving, electric vehicles.
“We see the future of the automobile industry as electric, connected, autonomous vehicles and shared,” said GM vice-president David Paterson. “Toronto is a great place for all of these areas, for a variety of reasons. One of which is congestion.”
The company plans to tackle congestion head on by implementing the use of shared autonomous cars that spend less time parked than traditional vehicles. GM is also currently working with the Ontario government to bring more charging stations to condominiums and workplaces, which would also help combat vehicle congestion and pollution.
While nothing is set in stone, GM sounds enthusiastic about their developing plans. Currently, the company runs a car-sharing service in the United States called Maven+, which places shared cars in condo parking lots and allows members to pay for a membership through their condo fees. A similar model could have a lot of potential in Toronto and would be a beneficial concept for condo renters who don’t require a vehicle every day.
The company will also be opening a GM Mobility Campus in Toronto within the next few years that will serve as a research and development centre, the Canadian head office for its Maven car-sharing service, and a sales and service centre that will focus on electric vehicles and e-bikes.
And while there are no confirmed dates for any of GM’s developing projects, automotive technology is progressing at a pace that has Patterson believe Toronto’s move to a shared economy in the auto sector will happen quickly.