Last year, Reuters published a report that indicated General Motors‘ Cruise Automation subsidiary was behind schedule to launch its self-driving taxi service. The article said Cruise’s Chevrolet Bolt EV-based prototypes had trouble identifying pedestrians, could not always tell if an object was stationary or moving and did not have the ability to recognize emergency vehicle sirens, among other major issues.
Now another similar report has been published by The Information, a subscription only technology and business publication. The article, entitled ‘Technical Glitches Plague GM’s $19 Billion Self Driving Car Unit’, claims the launch of the Cruise self-driving taxi service is still well behind schedule due to the numerous issues with the Cruise AV platform.
The report says Cruise AV prototypes will turn off suddenly and for unknown reasons. One embarrassing failure of this type came when GM was giving a demonstration ride to Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo. The safety driver had to take over the controls just 20 minutes into the demo ride after the vehicle’s software shut off and the vehicle remained rolling down the road. Eventually, another Cruise AV prototype arrive to finished the demo run. Honda is a major investor in Cruise, having committed $2.75 billion to the company last year.
The Information says Cruise AV prototypes will also become confused by every day driving occurrences, such as steam from vents on the roadway or water splashing up from other cars, frequently perform sudden and aggressive braking maneuvers and sometimes fail to properly yield to traffic. The vehicles also operate at a slow speed relative to a human driver, with your average Cruise AV ride taking approximately 80% longer than normal.
GM’s own internal calculations also indicate that a car with a human driver is about 10 times safer than the current version of its Cruise AV prototype, said The Information.
GM did not provide a comment to The Information for the report.
The automaker recently tempered expectations for its self-driving taxi program, admitting that the first Cruise AV vehicles on public streets will launch with a traditional steering wheel and pedals. It did not say if these vehicles will have safety drivers behind the wheel, but considering all Cruise AV prototypes still do, it seems likely the service will launch with them. It’s still not clear when GM’s commercial self-driving taxi service will launch.
Source: The Information