GM is making headway in the autonomous vehicle space with its semi-autonomous GM Super Cruise system, as well as development of fully autonomous vehicles through technology subsidiary Cruise. Now, GM President Mark Reuss is reiterating the company’s commitment to AV safety with a recent op-ed.
Published just yesterday on LinkedIn, the op-ed discusses GM’s latest AV efforts and the ways in which General Motors is focusing on the safe deployment of these new technologies going forward.
“With fully driverless vehicles now available through ridehail services in the city of San Francisco and the continued expansion of advanced driver assistance systems, it’s increasingly important that we continue to keep safety at the forefront in both ongoing developments in hands-free driving and the future availability of retail AVs,” Reuss writes.
However, as GM Authority covered last month, an anonymous whistleblower sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission last May that claims the Cruise self-driving robotaxi technology is not yet ready for commercial deployment, citing incidences where the AVs were observed blocking traffic or were otherwise immobile. The whistleblower also expressed concern over the company’s internal safety reporting system.
Furthermore, the NHTSA recently opened an investigation into a crash involving a Cruise AV and Toyota Prius that occurred in San Francisco earlier in June. The crash resulted in one of the passengers going to the hospital.
Although Reuss does not reference the crash or the whistleblower in his recent op-ed, the GM President did cite a Pew Research Center survey that indicates Americans are “cautious about the deployment of driverless cars.”
However, Reuss says GM is “laser-focused” on testing and validating its AV and semi-autonomous technologies using both virtual and real-world methods. Reuss also outlines the sensor technologies employed, such as real-time cameras, radar, GPS, and LiDar, while also pointing to the onboard driver attention systems that ensure human pilots are ready to reassume control from semi-autonomous systems like Super Cruise.
Finally, Reuss says GM is working with the public sector to keep its maps up-to-date and to identify which roads are under construction, while educating consumers and stakeholders about AV technology capabilities.
“Because safety is our focus, we’re investing significant time and resources to help ensure our features work safely before we go to market with these technologies,” Reuss states. “Our approach is working – we continue to scale access to advanced driver assistance technology, with Super Cruise reaching more than 34 million hands-free miles (and counting).”
GM recently announced that it will double the roadways in which Super Cruise is available for activation.