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GM News: GM's CEO Says They Are A Leader In Self-Driving Vehicles


William Maley

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Mary Barra, General Motors' CEO tells USA Today in an interview that the company is "among the leaders" in the development of self-driving cars. Now this claim seems a bit dubious since the only pieces of self-driving technologies that GM is working on is the Super Cruise system that will be debuting on the Cadillac CT6. and the company disclosing that it's running a fleet of driverless Volts at the Warren Technical Center. The remaining efforts are being kept confidential at the moment.

 

"Things are moving quickly in autonomous (cars) because there's so many different pathways and the standards aren't even set. A lot of people can claim leads because people are making advancements in different areas," said Barra.

 

We recommend you check out the rest of the article as Barra talks about Apple, Tesla, and the current relationship with NHTSA.

 

Source: USA Today via Detroit Free Press


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As an enthusiast I see the self driving car is the Anti Christ of the automobile. To me this is the end of the car enthusiast and it will render automobiles as just pods to move us from place to place.

I know "have you ever driven the 405 at rush hour?" The answer is yes but have you ever driven The Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee?

I just hope this all drags out long enough I will be too old to drive by then.

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I too agree with Hyper with self-driving automobiles as the Anti-Christ.

 

Ill go further still and borrow hatred for anything remotely robotic in such movies as Terminator and iRobot.

 

Im not however down with vintage iron being my sole choice though...

 

No...not because I dont like vintage iron...au contraire...I LOVE vintage iron....its just that the cold cold winters of Quebec....my home...creates havoc for the metal through an insane amount of corrosion in a relatively short amount of time...

 

You know...the stupid salt that we use to melt that stupid snow. And the thawing and freezing that goes on...is not that much better for the cars themselves...

 

On the upside...when one is 70 years old, in Quebec, they make you take a practical driving test again, to see if your fit to drive...then and only then will the apocalypse be fine with me, if and when the Quebec government deems me too old to drive...but then again, I might be living in Greece by that time...spending all my time on a beach...who needs gas, or electricity or hydrogen? A couple of watermelons to feed the horse and she takes you back home...come to think of it...THAT would be the ORIGINAL self-driving automobile...and I presume much much safer...horses dont make a habit of getting hacked or crashing into one another...and I dont seem to recall horses rebelling against us humans ever in history...

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Add me at 48 years old as saying self driving auto's are for those that should never have been allowed to drive anyway as their facebook and twitter is more important to them than enjoying the thrill of driving. 

 

I have to wonder just how many new auto's are in my future as I am not a fan of all the safety crap that takes control of your auto and would rather enjoy driving a true auto with no self braking, self driving, etc.

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Amen to that DFELT...to both your points about dummies that use their electronic device while driving...yeah...those a-holes are the reason for this mania over self driving cars...

 

I too, hate most safety features in most cars...the absolute most I want in my car is airbags, seatbelts, ABS brakes and traction control for certain situations. Not all...And that is it....No...No back-up cameras, no beep beep beeps, no lane departure warning systems, no nothing.

No smart cruise control, no radar/camera interventions of any kind....

 

If humans were more conscience in their driving, most of these features would not even be needed...

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The real wall will be at some point they will have to remove the free radical here the person with the non self driving car. This is the one thing they have no control over and it will have to be removed. I wonder how they are going to deal with that.

Also my other concern is you are turning your vehicle over to the system. This means if someone out there says there is too much traffic on the 405 at 5 PM you can not go that way even if you want to at that time. They may like a bus route assign times you can travel which means you may take longer getting home or you may not even be able to stop at a store on the way home if the traffic control division says you can't.

Also if they would like to restrict movement of people from one region to another they can do that too.

While this may be a Utopian dream for some it could prove to be a major factor in taking away your liberty to travel as you see fit today. In the hands of the wrong people it could really be a problem.

If you do not think it could happen the government now is thinking about making you put a smart thermostat in your home. They already are putting smart appliances that control the output of appliances in some areas now. Same with electric meters.

The Big Brother thing was set for 1999 but it was just a little bit late.

Not saying this will happen but the tools will be in place to make it happen if someone thinks they can live your life better for you. I think the government now is a little too far on that now.

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The real wall will be at some point they will have to remove the free radical here the person with the non self driving car. This is the one thing they have no control over and it will have to be removed. I wonder how they are going to deal with that.

Also my other concern is you are turning your vehicle over to the system. This means if someone out there says there is too much traffic on the 405 at 5 PM you can not go that way even if you want to at that time. They may like a bus route assign times you can travel which means you may take longer getting home or you may not even be able to stop at a store on the way home if the traffic control division says you can't.

Also if they would like to restrict movement of people from one region to another they can do that too.

While this may be a Utopian dream for some it could prove to be a major factor in taking away your liberty to travel as you see fit today. In the hands of the wrong people it could really be a problem.

If you do not think it could happen the government now is thinking about making you put a smart thermostat in your home. They already are putting smart appliances that control the output of appliances in some areas now. Same with electric meters.

The Big Brother thing was set for 1999 but it was just a little bit late.

Not saying this will happen but the tools will be in place to make it happen if someone thinks they can live your life better for you. I think the government now is a little too far on that now.

 

My thoughts on GM being a leader: well, in order for them to be competitive, they have to be. It's something that no automaker can ignore. And I think no automaker can really pinpoint why they're going down this road; but I'm happy that Tesla and GM are leaders here, and I guess Ford couldn't be that far behind in that realm either. Heck, Toyota, Audi from VW Group, Volvo. Every well known company for sure is pursuing this tech. But I don't think any company that does it first has a lasting advantage either. This is more of just taking components for the most part already available and tuning the hardware and developing the software to enable these features. Not much invention as much just minor innovations that add up to these systems. 

 

 

Other thoughts -

 

Yeah, smart thermostats and kwh meters are just junk. It's all a cash grab. Turning off the lights when you leave a room and setting the thermostat at 65 or 18 Celsius are just plain common sense. And the loss of privacy. In order to 'serve' us you better they track usage and package customer information for sale to the highest bidder.

 

I think mandating self-driving cars.... while certainly possible; at the rate these technologies are coming down in price; and just the salivation of politicians and lobbyists of the potential benefits; no, no. 

 

Honestly, I'd rather we supersede driving with something kickass like hoverboards, teleportation, jetpacks, mini Jetsons; Capsule Corp flying thingermajiggers, or the hyperloop.... or something so simple and ridiculously cheap like bicycles of all things. Walking even... 

 

And the leave the roads empty for those who choose to drive with passion.

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Not at all happy about the prospect of losing control of my own vehicle.  May as well not own my means of transport, but take public transportation... then the automakers eventually go out of business.

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We all are looking at this from one direction the question is outside the metro areas like LA etc. just how popular will this technology be?

I can see many areas where this will not play well.

Just exactly how will the public take this all in.

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Here's my take. Hybrids / electrics, after 15 years on the market, are still under 5% of the market IIRC. SDCs still have numerous, tall hurdles to clear, not the least of which is legalities. 15 years from now, are they going to be doing any better than hybrid/EVs?? 

It seems SO often people are willing to speak on the concept meanwhile ignoring the numbers. It's like CUVs- they've only gained a whopping 5% in share over the last 6 years, but people sometimes talk about them as if it were a landslide shift.

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SuperCruise is not the only tech that GM is working on at the moment.

 

GM is funding some large self driving initiatives that may not directly have their name on it, but they get rights to the tech as it is developed.  Pittsburgh is a major hub for such development. Uber, Google, and Carnegie Mellon University are all working on it here.

 

It's not coincidence that all of the CMU self driving cars happen to be Cadillacs. 

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I think self driving is a good idea, 60 minutes had a good story on this a couple weeks ago.  They said 33,000 people die in car accidents every year, the same as if a fully loaded 747 crashed every week.  If the airline industry had a 747 crash weekly, no one would fly, yet people hop in a car and do distracted driving, or fall asleep, or drive drunk etc.  Self driving cars will save lives.

 

Secondly, stop and go traffic can be stressful, letting the car take over in driving like that keeps the driver calm, relaxed, makes the drive more pleasurable.  I like driving, I don't like sitting in stop and go traffic doing nothing, and wasting time.   The Self driving car could create time, the ultimate luxury.  Doesn't mean you still can't drive for thrills.

 

And GM is not the leader, this car is, 20,000 miles driven by the computer on public streets without an accident.

mercedes-benz-s500-intelligent-drive-pro

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That's the thing really. These self-driving systems do not have to be perfect as we think. They just have to be better than humans. Which is highly likely. Add to that, there's just an untapped amount of information governments and automakers and third parties like insurance companies would just love to snack on... that can be provided from a self-driving vehicle connected to the cloud.

 

Now, I think for any SDC to gain traction, you need more than just the automaker accounting for liability, like already companies are declaring. They need to demonstrate system reliability. And how their self-driving cars...could actually prevent accidents from happening with non self-driving cars.

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I think self driving is a good idea, 60 minutes had a good story on this a couple weeks ago.  They said 33,000 people die in car accidents every year, the same as if a fully loaded 747 crashed every week.  If the airline industry had a 747 crash weekly, no one would fly, yet people hop in a car and do distracted driving, or fall asleep, or drive drunk etc.  Self driving cars will save lives.

 

Secondly, stop and go traffic can be stressful, letting the car take over in driving like that keeps the driver calm, relaxed, makes the drive more pleasurable.  I like driving, I don't like sitting in stop and go traffic doing nothing, and wasting time.   The Self driving car could create time, the ultimate luxury.  Doesn't mean you still can't drive for thrills.

 

And GM is not the leader, this car is, 20,000 miles driven by the computer on public streets without an accident.

mercedes-benz-s500-intelligent-drive-pro

 

I think the article's title and body do not really imply GM as the overall leader as much as GM is among the big leaders in this emering automotive field.

 

And autonomous tech is kind of like any technology, really. Which means easily* reproducible and substitutable in many cases. GM is among the leaders, while companies like Mercedes and Tesla (they've already brought it to market) in production vehicles, I am very sure all the technology demonstrators by all cars are very alike in capabilities.

 

It's also just a part of the big autonomous 'auto's movement. So things from warehouse carts to mining dump trucks to huge freighliners all being able to demonstrate in daily use autonomous navigation ability.

 

*As in easily I mean in the context of academic settings like MIT, Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh, and/or private enterprises with the resources to dedicated to this emerging technology.

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I think self driving is a good idea, 60 minutes had a good story on this a couple weeks ago.  They said 33,000 people die in car accidents every year, the same as if a fully loaded 747 crashed every week.  If the airline industry had a 747 crash weekly, no one would fly, yet people hop in a car and do distracted driving, or fall asleep, or drive drunk etc.  Self driving cars will save lives.

 

Secondly, stop and go traffic can be stressful, letting the car take over in driving like that keeps the driver calm, relaxed, makes the drive more pleasurable.  I like driving, I don't like sitting in stop and go traffic doing nothing, and wasting time.   The Self driving car could create time, the ultimate luxury.  Doesn't mean you still can't drive for thrills.

 

And GM is not the leader, this car is, 20,000 miles driven by the computer on public streets without an accident.

mercedes-benz-s500-intelligent-drive-pro

 

I think the article's title and body do not really imply GM as the overall leader as much as GM is among the big leaders in this emering automotive field.

 

And autonomous tech is kind of like any technology, really. Which means easily* reproducible and substitutable in many cases. GM is among the leaders, while companies like Mercedes and Tesla (they've already brought it to market) in production vehicles, I am very sure all the technology demonstrators by all cars are very alike in capabilities.

 

It's also just a part of the big autonomous 'auto's movement. So things from warehouse carts to mining dump trucks to huge freighliners all being able to demonstrate in daily use autonomous navigation ability.

 

*As in easily I mean in the context of academic settings like MIT, Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh, and/or private enterprises with the resources to dedicated to this emerging technology.

Indeed, Volvo Truck has been working on self driving rigs for years now.

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Another Pittsburgh plug. The optical tech that allows a car to see like a human in order to judge distance and relative speed for self driving cars was largely conceptualized and developed here. This is different from the laser/radar based cruise control systems and is a crucial piece to the SDC puzzle.

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I think a car maker will crack this before Google, Apple, CMU, MIT or whoever does.  Because those firms are outfitting stuff to an existing car from another company, vs the car company expanding upon their own tech and building from the ground up.  What is shocking is a Mercedes engineer said the self driving tech would only add a few thousand dollars to the price of the car.   And rumor is the 2017 E-class will have it.  $3k on the price of an E-class is nothing, so $65,000 vs $62,000 and it drives itself, amazing.

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I think a car maker will crack this before Google, Apple, CMU, MIT or whoever does.  Because those firms are outfitting stuff to an existing car from another company, vs the car company expanding upon their own tech and building from the ground up.  What is shocking is a Mercedes engineer said the self driving tech would only add a few thousand dollars to the price of the car.   And rumor is the 2017 E-class will have it.  $3k on the price of an E-class is nothing, so $65,000 vs $62,000 and it drives itself, amazing.

German/English translation error? It may only cost Benz that much to add to the car, but you better believe they're going to extract a bunch of profit from you at the dealership.

Besides, Drivers Assist and Parktronic is priced at $3,500 today and requires $4,000 of other packages as well.

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Self driving is only going to be seen on really expensive cars for a good while. Self-driving on a $65k car?

 

Not likely in the least. You probably have to buy every option to enable the purchase of their special self-driving version of Distronic.

 

Or worse, in order to get even basic distronic adaptive cruise control, you have to buy self-driving.

 

In either case, the leaders in this field are going to be the ones who can bring it to a price point for the masses. GM, Honda, Ford, and Toyota, Volvo and Subaru seem like the only car companies that could achieve this relatively soon.

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