General Motors is a leading company in the race to roll out self-driving cars and has big plans for autonomous vehicles come 2019. However, GM Cruise Automation may launch a pilot program ahead of a full-scale deployment.
The latest news comes from emails obtained by Jalopnik. In a Tuesday report, the outlet published conversations between GM Cruise and the city of San Francisco, which detail the possibility of a driverless car launch in city in the very near future.
As of last month, GM Cruise requested cooperation with San Francisco emergency services to collect images and data of emergency vehicles. GM said in emails that its self-driving cars must obtain more training involving emergency vehicles (fire trucks and ambulances) as it “is critical to both public and vehicle safety” ahead of “driverless deployment.”
Nadia Marquez, GM Cruise’s senior government relations manager, also reiterated the need to work with emergency services and said, “I want to be deferential to everyone’s time and work, but without compromising needed AV safety ahead of our forthcoming pilot launch.”
According to additional emails, the exercises haven’t been carried out yet, but Marquez’s emails said GM would like to finalize the training exercises “fairly soon.”
It’s unclear where GM Cruise plans to roll out its self-driving car operations in 2019. But, said rollout was reportedly set to occur after GM Cruise deployed self-driving cars in New York City. Thus far, GM has not received a permit to operate autonomous vehicles in the city; the automaker originally declared the cars would reach NYC in “early 2018.”