They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but just one came to mind when we saw the photograph posted below: poignant.
The picture is an enlarged portion of a photograph from our freshest, most recent batch of GM Cruise AV spy shots, and it shows an engineer in the drivers seat whose focus is very clearly on the mobile device in his hands, and not on the road in front of them. Both hands are fully off the steering wheel, and while the engineer’s face has been blurred to grant them some anonymity, we’d guess their eyes are cast down rather than ahead.
If ever there were a picture that captured the future of transportation in a nutshell, this would be it. We here at GMAuthority live to drive, but if this photograph is any indication, we’re drawing ever closer to a future in which the human driver is utterly obsolete. In fact, the “production-intent” version of the GM Cruise AV shown earlier this year doesn’t even feature a steering wheel like the test vehicle photographed here; the human controls in this car are a purely precautionary measure.
The production-intent GM Cruise AV features plenty of other precautionary equipment, too, with redundant cameras, RADAR, and LIDAR sensors – 40 in all – placed all over the body to help it watch the whole driving environment for features, obstacles, and other commuters. The total sensor count includes 5 LIDAR, 14 cameras, and a staggering 21 RADAR, keeping tabs on pedestrians, cyclists, other vehicles, signage, traffic lights, and other features and objects in the car’s vicinity.
Granted, all of those sensors cost a fair amount of coin, so the “future of transportation” will at least be delayed a bit as General Motors and its partners and suppliers work out how to remove enough cost that it can be economically feasible to sell to the general public. More immediately, after the car enters production next year, it will be pressed into service in commercial rideshare and ride-hailing services.
Check back in with GM Authority regularly to keep up-to-date with the latest GM Cruise Automation news.