Becoming a human backup driver for a self-driving car isn’t as simple as it sounds. Sure, drivers spend most of their time simply sitting behind the wheel while the car does its thing, but there’s much more to it.
Roadshow reported last Thursday that GM first brings on Autonomous Vehicle Testers (AVTs) to ensure utmost safety while the self-driving car roams public roads. But, before jumping behind the wheel to monitor things, AVTs undergo classroom training. Here, the testers learn what they’re supposed to do while monitoring the systems.
AVTs must engage the self-driving system, record behavior, provide feedback, and most importantly, take control of the car when deemed necessary.
Classroom training goes on for one month before the AVTs move to a stationary car. From there, the employee begins their work on a test course before heading out to public roads. Part of the training includes how to operate the self-driving car, and how to react when something potentially goes awry—like if a human driver makes contact with the self-driving vehicle. AVTs have all protocols in a binder stored in the car at all times.
While rival companies have begun to take the humans out of self-driving vehicles completely, GM said it keeps two AVTs in the car at all times. And they’re not going anywhere until GM Cruise achieves certain safety requirements. The entire self-driving car industry paused after an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona this past March.