GM and its subsidiary, Cruise Automation, have just announced the first mass production, fully-autonomous vehicle.
“Today, we’re announcing the first production design of a self-driving car that can be built at massive scale. And more importantly, these vehicles can operate without a driver,” says Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise Automation. What Vogt is acknowledging, is that competitors have created self-driving vehicles, but most are largely built by hand which is both financially and temporally exhaustive. The self-driving vehicle, called Generation 3.
That’s partly because it will share a platform of the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt (one’s a hybrid and one’s an electric vehicle, but could ever remember which). However, a full 40% of the Generation 3’s parts are entirely different from those with which GM constructs the Bolt. It’s unclear who built the steering wheel, but, apparently, Cruise has only included it as a result of current legislation restricting completely driverless cars.
These legislative hurdles, in addition to the pressure added by Tesla’s fatal failures, and the market’s fierce competitiveness, have also made Cruise reticent to hand its vehicles off to consumers just yet. Instead, the Generation 3s, fifty of which has produced already at its Orion plant in Michigan, will head straight into fleets. Specifically, the self-driving Bolt imitators Cruise Automations own Cruise Anywhere ride-sharing service.
What does it mean for consumers?
As it stands, the future seems far away – least at first glance. While the Generation 3 won’t be going to the showroom floor, that doesn’t mean autonomous technology isn’t. If you even take a look at the current crop of GM vehicles.
The 2017 GMC Terrain, for example, has available Side Blind Zone Alert & rear Cross-Traffic Alert. While some might not consider this to be self-driving tech, it automates part of driving. Plus it’s only part of the Terrain’s safety suite. You can also add Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert that use sophisticated imaging technology to keep you safe.
The Buick Lacrosse, meanwhile offers even more sophisticated autonomous technology. Available Forward Collision Alert and Pedestrian Detection work together to prevent collisions with objects the driver cannot see or predict. If the LaCrosse detects a vehicle or pedestrian in front, it visually and aurally alerts the driver. If the driver fails to react, the system can even automatically apply the brakes.
Of course, the GMC Denali lineup offers similar technology. In the Yukon Denali, for example, you’ll find Collision Avoidance Braking, Intelligent Brake Assist, and available Adaptive Cruise Control. With Adaptive Cruise Control, you can set your cruising speed like you would with regular cruise control. However, when sensors detect a slow-moving vehicle in the front, the system will automatically reduce your speed to ensure you remain a safe distance behind it. Once the vehicle leaves your path, or you leave it,