General Motors and many other automobile manufacturers are bracing for the coming of the autonomous car. GM itself has made major investments into a changing automotive landscape, including autonomous vehicles in its purchase of Cruise Automation. But, in order for self-driving cars to truly become a reality, GM President Dan Ammann is calling for state and local governments to embrace the technology.
Automotive News reports Ammann specifically addressed the need for more public road testing of autonomous vehicles at the Economic Club of Chicago address during the Chicago Auto Show.
“To make autonomous vehicles the best they can be and the safest they can be, we really need to be testing on public streets,” he said. “It can be limited to a geo-fenced area, but it needs to be public streets in a real world environment.”
Ammann also reiterated the potential safety and quality of life benefits autonomous cars will bring, but they still need to experience many real world situations to learn road rules.
“At some point — it’s going to be sooner than people think — we will deploy our electric vehicles, still with a backup driver, into a ride-share fleet,” Ammann said. “We will use that fleet to accumulate all the data we need to convince ourselves and regulators that we are ready to go driverless.”
And, although investment into U.S. infrastructure is needed, Ammann stated GM will not wait for it.
“The approach that we’ve taken is, actually, we can’t wait for [infrastructure investments],” he said. “We need to make sure that the technology is able to work and be deployed in the current environment so that we’re not dependent upon some change or investment in infrastructure in order to do what we want to do here.”