GM Will No Longer Launch AV Without Steering Wheel Or Pedals In 201919
Last January, General Motors sent out a press release proudly proclaiming that it had filed a petition with the Department of Transportation asking for permission to “safely deploy a self-driving vehicle in 2019,” without a steering wheel or pedals.
The announcement certainly garnered the automaker the attention it was looking for, especially from the tech community, but it now seems as though GM jumped the gun. The federal government has not yet granted GM the exemption it needs to launch the cars and the automaker has received significant pushback from safety groups over the matter.
Doug Parks, GM’s vice president of autonomous and electric vehicle programs, told Automotive News this week that it will no longer ahead with the plan to roll out a self-driving car that lacks standard controls.
“Until we have exemptions, which we filed a petition for, and/or law changes, we probably wouldn’t go forward with Gen 4,” Parks said. “But we think it’s really something we’ve got to talk about, we’ve got to work on.”
Considering the infancy of autonomous vehicle technology, the backlash is rightly placed. If AVs are intended to be safer than regular vehicles, it seems counterintuitive to take away a crucial safety component like backup manual controls for the sake of impressing the public.
While GM never said its self-driving taxi fleet would exclusively feature vehicles without controls, it made it clear it wanted to launch the vehicles in some capacity this year. It also said the fourth-generation Cruise AV would be “the first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or manual controls.”
GM is believed to be behind schedule on its self-driving taxi project as per its own timeline. It previously indicated it would launch the service in 2019, but CEO Mary Barra side stepped questions related to the rollout this week. Parks would also not reaffirm the automaker’s commitment to the 2019 launch, AN says, and wouldn’t say if the service would launch with safety derivers.
Whenever the Cruise Automation-operated taxi fleet is ready to launch, it will likely be with GM’s Gen 3 AV, Parks said, which is already testing on public roads and features standard controls.
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As someone who works for GM it wasn’t a bad idea.
The steering wheel and pedals will only serve to get in the way of user comfort and be largely unused if ever as systems were put in place to not require their function. Someday we will have to ditch the setup… dedicated AVs will have to evolve. Why not us, why not now?
“Why not us, why not now?”
Better question for NHTSA.
Also why is user comfort paramount to safety?
At GM safety is truly paramount, we would not release a half backed product in terms of safety. Just not in our culture, and not in how we validate.
Respectfully, I must remind you: Ignition Switch Recall. Huge issue!
At GM PROFIT is truly paramount.
At GM safety is truly somewhere in the process.
I ask you this, if at GM safety is truly paramount, WHY in a GM product, on the average market, is there LESS STANDARD SAFETY EQUIPTMENT for the PRICE ?
If GM was, is, or wants the CUSTOMER to believe Safety is paramount, don’t YOU think GM would be focused on SAFETY and offer ALL and THE MOST SAFETY they are capable of ?
Again just like Boeing and the 737Max, wasn’t there a safety OPTION available for a PRICE to detect sensor failure ?
If there is a price on safety, safety is NOT GMs truly paramount goal.
In my opinion.
And I will, and always do add,
Safety is caring about the CUSTOMER, wouldn’t CUSTOMER service also fit in the paramount plan ?
The ONLY time the CUSTOMER or SAFETY are paramount to GM is when it effects SALES, MONEY, PROFIT, GREED, STOCK PRICE, ETC.
The arrogance at GM oozes and drips plentiful and is the MAIN reason GM is not the world leader in the automotive industry.
If the CUSTOMER was truly paramount at GM, that ONE goal would project the company into the future.
Customer return on investment.
THE CUSTOMER !!!
How is announcing that they filed a petition “jumping the gun”? It was (and is) very impressive that Cruise is at the point where they can do this. They got some small amount of publicity with their announcement. They were probably trying to prepare the public and encourage support for the idea. They’re showing that they are prepared to deliver on their promises with the technology, which should be very impressive to Wall Street and analysts alike. The government—rightly or wrongly—just denied their special request.
If I was GM, my response would be to Velcro a force-feedback gaming steering wheel to the dash and strap some gaming pedals to the floor mat. Build the cars to be driverless, use backup drivers to demonstrate that the cars are safe and reliable, then remove the temporary controls when the government says they can and they think the technology is ready.
They’re clearly not going to deploy something like this until they truly think it’s safe. On my 10 mile commute this morning, I was almost sideswiped by an old man who didn’t turn his neck when merging without a signal, a woman (illegally parked on a corner) pulled out from the curb without signaling and almost t-boned me, and a car blatantly ran a red light to turn right in front of me. While I know technology is not infallible, either, I can’t wait to get to the point where incompetent, rude, inattentive, rushed drivers at least have the *option* of getting off the road and being driven in efficient, self-driving EVs.
“If I was GM, my response would be to Velcro a force-feedback gaming steering wheel to the dash and strap some gaming pedals to the floor mat.”
This does not sound like a realistic or safe solution. They jumped the gun because AVs still need safety drivers. We are a long way away from having production AVs that do not need manual controls. This was never realistic to be launched in 2019, as it would have always needed a safety driver.
Why are you so sure they need a safety driver? They have been doing fine for months in San Fran and other locations. The no pedal no steering wheel bolt is likely safer than you or I. The main obstacle to overcome at this point is legislation.
Why safety driver?
Bridge washouts, plane crashes or other sudden emergencies not detectable by the sensors but at least probable if not apparent to an observant driver. I am not saying this would happen to the GM car, as I don’t work for GM and was not on any car testing team. See the links: http://www.gribblenation.org/2006/06/two-dead-in-i-88-washout-ny-state.html
…point being that if you avoid the sinkhole or bridge collapse, how does the car decide to get out of the danger zone by safely driving the wrong way on the highway, how fast, and how far? Or does it just shut down and let another driver who’s drowsy, texting or otherwise distracted or unaware of the emergency collide with it? And so on… My guess is they’ve thought about this and have decided on strategies to handle it, but unless and until they are forthcoming on those matters people will still equate – perhaps falsely – that past quality problems with GM cars (Chevette alloy engines, ignition switches, and such) make it unwise permitting a vehicle produced by that organization to operate autonomously on public highways. That said, I am glad GM are excited about it, I’m kinda curious about how it avoids sudden problems, and I hope it works.
So petition the gov to enforce the laws we have and beef up driving tests! Not push to take away our ability!
As someone who does not want self driving cars, it was a bad idea. Maybe more people that work at GM should talk to more people who buy cars.
My belief this was a bad idea is not related to not “wanting” self-driving cars, but more so that the technology is just not advanced enough yet to justify doing away with the controls altogether. I think it’s a good idea to have back up controls while we are still familiarizing ourselves with the technology. The controls are hardly in the way, and if they are, just redesign them to be less obtrusive.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford
To most people possessed with common sense, as opposed to the AV true believers, the proposal was way premature. The technology is not ready, the market is not ready, the country’s infrastructure is not ready. GM ended up looking irresponsible and foolish. It doesn’t appear that the proposal got the stock price boost that perhaps Mary was looking for. This is just one of her many failing gambits she has promoted. I wonder at what point will her leadership of GM be called into serious question by the grownups that are (hopefully) still in the room?
The idea bordered on the insanity as having an option for a driver to take control has to be part of any vehicle with autonomous software and building a car without a steering wheel or pedals just makes no sense because even if proven to be 100-percent effective, there may be times when a car owner wants to drive the vehicle himself like someone manually shifting gears in an automatic transmission vehicle.
The belts and braces attitude to AV safety will lead to extra road deaths rather than less.
I would never buy a car or other vehicle for the regular road traffic with people without steering wheel and pedals and drive !!! Without steering wheel and pedals I drive train, Submarine on a cruise ship or fly as a guest on the plane. Nowhere are people directly involved here as in road traffic. So please do not approve and build trucks or cars without steering wheel and pedals! Not everything that is possible must be built this way. Take the game console or the smartphone and play your games in a computer sham world but not in real life with real humans and also animals!
Thank you if you see it that way!
I am ok with the tech of driverless, even without controls.
Maybe in a community with specific roadways without driver vehicles.
Also there is this tidbit, GM cant make a transmission shift correctly and the only recourse is a lawsuit.
You wait until GM has these vehicles on the road and are tied in with the city governments.
A lawsuit will do nothing at that point GM will squash the CUSTOMER even harder than today.
If you want to move from point A to point B you will pay GM if there is a problem you are out of luck, just like you are with GM CUSTOMER service.
This transportation problem and the tech it will take to solve it needs to progress BUT NOT with PROFIT as the MAIN driving force.
I would love to hear some more blah, blah, from GM or Dan. Maybe how is that working out pushing those unrealistic goals on NEW TECH.
You’re not ready!
I frequently get ghost alerts in my Volt, all the tech is easily fooled, and other manufacturers have had adaptive cruise for years! Something noticeably missing on the Bolt.