GM (General Motors) starting building and testing Autonomous vehicles back in 2015, and have since tested on public roads in Michigan. Whilst some states, such as a California require reporting and logs from manufacturers on autonomous vehicle malfunctions, Michigan does not and even has its own regulations called the SAVE Act that seems very much in favor of manufacturers being able to test there.
Where is the data coming from?
In January 2016, GM invested $500 million in ride sharing company, ‘Lyft’. You might why would GM, a vehicle manufacturer be investing in something that kills their business? Because this is the future. The idea behind this investment is the ability to build a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles here in this country. ‘Cruise Automation’ was also acquired by GM to aid in software development, speeding up the process and Maven (GM’s ride share company) is already underway in 17 cities across the U.S. including Denver. GM, also already has a bunch of data. “Everything GM has learned from OnStar, now applies to the new world of connected vehicles,” said Terry inch, executive director at Global Connected Customer Experience Operations at OnStar.
Other companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, VW/Audi, Delphi, Tesla, Bosch, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Ford, Google Auto Inc, and Uber are also working on collecting data through miles and miles of driving and testing.
On 5th April 2017, GM and SAE International announced an autonomous vehicle competition called the Autodrive Challenge™ in which 8 universities are selected. The goal is to complete an autonomous vehicle that is able to navigate an urban driving course at SAE Level 4 in 3 years. “Level 4 – High Automation: The driving mode-specific performance by an Automated Driving System of all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even if a human driver does not respond appropriately to a request to intervene”. Level 5 is where is no human input is needed.
Chevrolet Bolt EV’s are being provided by GM to each university team. GM’s corporate news explains that the students will work with, “…sensing technologies, computing platforms, software design implementation and advanced computation methods such as computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensor fusion and autonomous vehicle controls”.
What about the crashes?
Several crashes of autonomous vehicles have been reported. California requires disengagement reports from manufacturers to be logged and submitted every year. A disengagement is when a human must take over the autonomous technology or an error is detected. From Sept 2014 to Nov 2015, Google Auto Inc drove 424,331 miles autonomous miles on public roads. In Sept 2015, only 1 disengagement was reported for the 36326.6 autonomous miles driven that month by Google Auto Inc.
This year, 3 years or 10 years, what do you think?
John Rosevear from Madison.com reported, “What we don’t know for sure is when those self-driving Bolts will start to appear. But we do know that GM and Lyft have both hinted that a very big public test of self-driving Bolts in Lyft service is in the works, and will begin in the near future — possibly later this year.”
If you like driving with a little spirited or even just being in control, you might not want to wait to buy that sports car. The race is on for autonomous vehicles, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is giving us a specific date, given all this information when do you think we will see fully autonomous vehicles available for purchase or a majority on U.S. roads? Do you think our grandkids will say, “how did people ever manage without autonomous vehicles?”.
“GM to Start Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturing and Testing in Michigan.” Media.gm.com. N.p., 15 Dec. 2016. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.
“Legislative Update: SAVE Act Paves Way for Autonomous Vehicle Testing in Michigan.”Detroit Regional Chamber. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2017
Reese, Hope. “What GM Has Learned from 20 Years of Collecting Data from Cars with OnStar.” TechRepublic. N.p., 2 Nov. 2016. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.
“Maven Joins the City of Los Angeles in Expanding Sustainable Transportation Solutions.”Media.gm.com. N.p., 16 Feb. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017
“About SAE International.” Current SAE News Releases. N.p., 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.
Bonelli, Chris. “GM and SAE International Select 8 North American Universities for New Autonomous Vehicle Competition.” Media.gm.com. N.p., 05 Apr. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.
Google Auto LLC. “Google Self-Driving Car Testing Report on disengagements of Autonomous Mode December 2015.” DMV CA. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr. 2017.
Rosevear), Newsfeedback@fool.com (John. “General Motors Is Betting $600 Million on Self-Driving This Year.” Madison.com. N.p., 08 Apr. 2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.
Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. A car geek, photographer, big game chaser and bagpipe player, powered by coffee. Send your questions to: