By the end of next year, GM's self-driving car unit was planning to have a fleet of self-driving taxis available those in San Fransisco, California. But a new report from Reuters casts some serious doubts on this goal.
Speaking to a number of current and former GM and Cruise Automation employees, and autonomous vehicle technology experts, Reuters' report paints a picture of various issues that could derail Cruise's goal.
- The driverless Cruise vehicles (Chevrolet Bolt EVs) have struggled to determine whether objects on the road are moving or stationary. Example: Vehicles have stopped or hesitated when driving past a group of parked bicycles or motorcycles.
- Software has failed to identify pedestrians, "and has mistakenly seen phantom bicycles, causing the cars to brake erratically"
- Sources claim that software also slows the messages between the car’s sensors and computers
- Cruise doesn't have a data-sharing collaboration with the San Francisco Fire Department - necessary to train the cars when a fire truck is responding to an emergency.
- Numerous milestones have been missed such as logging a million miles a month by early 2018.
Cruise is aware of the various issues. CEO Kyle Vogt told Reuters said the next-generation of hardware and software would solve various issues.
General Motors' President Dan Ammann said that the 2019 goal would only move forward "if the Cruise system achieves the safety standards the automaker has established, and shown to regulators."
At the current moment, that goal seems quite far away.