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General Motors Could Win the Autonomous Battle

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【Summary】GM’s Cruise Automation team in San Francisco believes that Cruise and the American automaker are on the cusp of releasing self-driving technology to the masses.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Sep 21, 2017 2:00 PM PT
General Motors Could Win the Autonomous Battle

The autonomous race may be coming to a swift end, as General Motors and Cruise Automation, the American automaker's driverless arm that GM recently purchased for $1 billion, believe that they are on the cusp of releasing driverless vehicles to the masses. If that's true, General Motors and Cruise Automation would be first in the race to unleash autonomous vehicles to the public. 

Being First Means Everything

According to a report by The Detroit News, GM and Cruise Automation are extremely close to reaching their goal. In a post on Cruise Automation's blog, CEO and founder Kyle Vogt claimed that the two companies had created the first autonomous vehicle that could be mass produced earlier last week. "So, today, we're unveiling the world's first mass-producible car designed to operate without a driver," said Vogt. 

Vogt's claim is a bold one, as it firmly confirms that both GM and Cruise Automation have cracked the code for autonomous vehicles. Other automakers and technology companies, which could be at the same point, haven't officially stated how close they are to unveiling the technology yet, making GM's claim an oddity. 

"If Cruise has mastered the technology element, or is very close to mastering it, and if GM has nailed the high-volume production aspect, it puts the automaker on the cusp of offering real-world autonomous tech for businesses and consumers," said Karl Crauer, analyst with Cox Automotive, reports The Detroit News

Needless to say, creating an autonomous system that could be mass produced would be a breakthrough for the entire automotive industry, as no one else has even come close to perfecting their driverless systems. But it almost sounds too good to be true. 

"I haven't seen or heard any indication of a high-volume, production-ready autonomous vehicle from anyone else," said Brauer. "That doesn't mean another automaker or automaker/tech company partnership isn't just as close as GM and Cruise, but there's nothing to suggest that at the moment." 

Is GM Really Close Or Bluffing?

Earlier this June, General Motors announced that it had used mass-production techniques to build a total of 130 Chevrolet Bolt EVs with self-driving technology. The driverless cars are assembled at the automaker's Orion plant in Orion Township, Mich. and are packed with the necessary hardware to operate without a human driver, including cameras, LiDAR, and sensors. 

And Vogt, as The Detroit News reports, believes that the autonomous Bolts even have the necessary redundancy requirements that experts believe are critical to the vehicles' operation.  

"Our newest self-driving car might look like a regular car on the outside, but the vehicle's core system architecture more closely resembles that of a commercial airplane or spacecraft," said Vogt. "It's a complex and time consuming process to design cars this way, but it's the responsible thing to do." 

While Cruise Automation and General Motors feel pretty good about themselves, others are skeptical. "There is way too much hype in this industry," said Michael DeKort in a comment on Cruise Automation blog post. "Everyone is exaggerating what they are capable of to keep up with the other exaggerations so the money keeps flowing. None of you are driving any real complexity especially in bad weather etc. You are misleading the public and giving them a false sense of security." 

General Motors and Cruise Automation may have cracked the code on how to mass-produce autonomous vehicles, but if they've truly done it, we should see a host of autonomous Bolt EVs on the road sometime in the near future. 

via: Medium, The Detroit News

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