This year, GM will put self driving cars into production. The car is a standard Chevy Bolt with a few notable changes. Most apparent, this vehicle has no pedals or steering wheel! There’s also a LIDAR array on top of the vehicle which allows it to drive completely without human input.This won’t be your standard family car. Instead, GM plans to start a commercial service centered around the unique vehicle. Commuter’s will be able to hail a ride with an app, and the vehicles will pick them up and take them to their destination just like a taxi – except without a driver to have awkward small talk with.
This exceptional vehicle is known as the Cruise AV, and it will be produced at GM’s Orion Township plant in Michigan along side the increasingly infamous Bolt EV it is based upon.On the roof are a series of modules containing the bulk of the hardware required for driverless transport including LIDAR, radar, and a multitude of cameras. These components will be manufactured at GM’s Brownstown plant, also in Michigan, and where GM produces fuel cell stacks and batteries.
“Our Orion and Brownstown teams have proven experience in building high quality self-driving test vehicles and battery packs, so they are well prepared to produce the Cruise AV.” Said GM president Dan Ammann. “We’re continuing to make great progress on our plans to commercialize in 2019”.
One thing is for sure – GM is committed to the commercialization of self driving vehicles. It’s not yet been announced which locations the Cruise AV will first service, but a list of US candidates include downtown San Francisco, Scottsdale Arizona, and Warren, Michigan. Prototypes will also be tested soon in Manhattan.
One of the big hurdles to this plan becoming a reality is getting US Federal approval that will allow the Cruise AV onto public streets, transporting human passengers. This is a much more difficult process for self-driving cars because safety standards were written and legislated long before such technical possibilities were even thought of, let alone attainable. The Cruise AV demands a whole new paradigm of thinking about safety, and lack of a steering wheel and pedals is a major stumbling block. Even with Federal approval, State approval in the US is still required as well.
According to the plan, the fleet of vehicles will either be operated by GM, or by partnering with an existing ride share company. Although, GM has launched a limited ride-share service called Cruise Anywhere, currently limited only to employees of Cruise Automation, which was acquired by GM in 2016.
Vehicles are currently limited to certain geographic area’s based on sufficient map data. For the moment, vehicles are also not capable of traversing certain weather conditions such as heavy snow – so it will probably be a while until we see this sort of tech in Canada. The end goal of all this, however, is to produce a vehicle capable of handling anything the world could throw at a human driver.
While you’re waiting for self-driving vehicles to come into the mainstream, you can check out all the vehicles at CMP Auto, including Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC models, and featuring the electric Chevrolet Bolt, the model the Cruise AV is based on. Come on in to see us at 1313 – 36 Street NE, or give us a call at (403) 207-1000 today.