Tesla’s Autopilot Gets Schooled By Cadillac’s Super Cruise
For a layman, autonomous technology is Autopilot. That’s how synonymous Musk has made it; so naturally, one would assume it to be the best one. However, according to Consumer Reports, it’s not Tesla’s autopilot, but Cadillac’s Super Cruise that’s the best system in the market today. Surprised?
New Autonomous Vehicle Rules On the Way
Autonomous vehicles might be exempt in the future from some of the safety standards put in place by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) if changes that accommodate this new type of road vehicle sees the light of day.
Automotive giants such as GM have called for legislative changes that would allow "the full deployment of self-driving vehicles" which, at the moment, have to be equipped with a steering wheel, pedals, and mirrors, although autonomous cars don’t have a driver.
As such, The NHTSA "intends to reconsider the necessity and appropriateness of its current safety standards" as applied to automated vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation said in an 80-page update of its principles dubbed "Automated Vehicles 3.0."
General Motors and Honda Collaborate On Autonomous Technology
A lot of partnerships are arising these days. It’s not just automakers and tech companies, but also automakers and automakers. This time, it’s General Motors and Honda teaming up to take on the world with Autonomous Technology. General Motors and Cruise Automation announced collaboration with Japanese giant, Honda that will seek “large-scale deployment” of technology for autonomous vehicles.
GM’s First Self-Driving Vehicle Could Carry the Name AV1
Does GM Know Better than Elon Musk when it Comes to Self-Driving Cars?
The truth is, we don’t have fully autonomous cars – I’m talking about level 5 autonomy. The closest to come to it so far is Tesla with its AutoPilot system, but it’s nowhere near being trustworthy enough to let it run all on its own without a human looking after it. Musk has gone on record saying that all Tesla’s built after October of 2016 are level 5 Autonomous capable. Of course, that means Tesla’s cars can do so with nothing more than cameras and radar, something no other manufacturer can seem to agree with. Most believe that at SAE-certified autonomous cars will require a full sensor suite that includes, at the very least, cameras, radar, and lidar, if not other sensors as well. Scott Miller, the Director of Autonomous Vehicle Integration over at GM, said, “To think you can see everything you need for a level five autonomous [car] with cameras and radar, I don’t know how you do that.”
Of course, nobody really knows what SAE level-5 will really by, so Miller’s insinuation that he knows whether or not Tesla’s system is SAE-certifiable for level 5 is a moot point – SAE doesn’t know what level 5 autonomy requires and there is no test out there for it as of the time of this writing. Be that as it may, Miller still says that Elon Musk is giving us the ol’ leg pull because using just camera’s and radar isn’t possible
“The level of technology and knowing what it takes to do the mission, to say you can be a full level five with just cameras and radars is not physically possible. I think you need the right sensors and right computing package to do it. Think about it; we have LIDAR, radar, and cameras on this. The reason we have that type of sensor package is that we think you need not be deeply integrated in to be level five, you should have redundancy.”
Of course, we should keep in mind that these comments are coming from a company that’s barely at level two, and just launched the “Supercruise” system in a single vehicle for the first time. That system is considered level-2 and allows hands-off driving on certain stretches of highway. So, you could really chalk this one off to someone who doesn’t have experience in anything more than an entry-level technology trying to call out the man who practically pioneered the self-driving revolution.
And, let’s not forget that Elon has been criticized before as well – remember when they said it was crazy to land a rocket, upright on a platform and reuse said rocket later on? Yeah, I do too, and guess what? Elon did it. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see, and I can appreciate the want for redundant systems and backups for safety, but telling someone they can’t do something it’s a surefire way to motivate them to prove you wrong. So, we shall see…
GM Developing Autonomous, Fuel Cell, Multi-Use Platform Called SURUS
General Motors has thought outside the box on this one. Meet SURUS, a fully autonomous platform with 4WD and four-wheel steering powered by a fuel cell. Its name stands for “Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure,” and it’s GM’s latest joint project with the United States Army. Unlike diesel-powered trucks, the SURUS produces no noise, smell, or by-product besides purified water. It also isn’t confined to any one job. With a completely bare deck, GM can attach anything from a cab-over crew compartment or a shipping container. Thanks to its fully autonomous driving capability, it doesn’t need a driver and therefore doesn’t need a dedicated cab. This frees up the entire platform to accept an endless number of compatible up-fits.
“SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. “General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.” GM is currently readying the SURUS for testing, both with the U.S. military and in commercial applications. SURUS is GM’s second vehicle study of fuel cell applications for the military in recent months. Back in April, the Army began evaluating a fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 concept pickup as a possible addition to its field operations. Fuel Cells have the distinct advantage of silent operation while being able to produce electricity for base camp operations with purified water as the only by-product.
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GM Might Regret Saying it Would Take Blame For Autonomous Car Accidents
So, GM say’s it’ll take the heat for crashes involving its level 3 autonomous cars. That’s cool and the gang, but it’s quite possible that the brand spoke a little too soon and it could really come back to bite it right in the ass. How so? Well, when you consider that the month of September alone came with a total of six accidents involving GM’s Cruise Automation Division autonomous cars in the great state of California. To add a bit of an ironic twist, Cruise – which is a division of GM – says none of its cars were actually at fault…. Hmmmm what shoulder are they putting that blame on? After all, there have been 13 accidents involving these cars in California this year too… Okay, maybe we’re talking a little too early here to point out those ironies. According to Cruise, most of the incidents involved drivers of other cars (yes, human, and not AI) running into the autonomous cars that could.
It has been reported that in one case, a guy in a Ford Ranger was playing on his phone and rear-ended one of the self-driving cars. In another instance, a Dodge Charger attempted a risky and illegal overtaking procedure when it scraped the front sensor of the car and took off without the driver even looking in the rearview. There was even one case where a Cruise employee saw an accident in the making – a cyclist that was intoxicated and going in the wrong direction – and attempted to stop, but the cyclist smucked into the little Bolt anyway. Gm’s Cruise division says the new generation of Bolt EVs, which provide level 3 autonomy (think of being on point with Tesla AutoPilot,) but, even if they are, are we ready to share the road with artificial intelligence that is apparently more logical than your typical human driver?
GM Says It’ll Shoulder Blame In Level 3 Autonomous Driving Crashes
Cadillac, under the direction of General Motors, introduced the first enclosed car in 1910; Cadillac debuted the electric starter motor that replaced hand-cranking in 1912; Cadillac then built the first mass-produced V-8 in 1915; and in 1940, GM introduced the first viable automatic transmission. Now in 2017, GM might be making another massive industry advancement that will shape the automotive landscape for the next century, if not beyond. GM says it will take full responsibility if its vehicles crash during autonomous driving.
The news comes from GM’s head of innovation, Warwick Stirling, who spoke with CarAdvice on the subject of autonomous driving and the automaker’s strides in Cadillac’s “Super Cruise” development. Stirling said, [As for] the question of liability, if the driver is not driving, the driver is not liable. The car is driving.” This makes GM the first major automaker to make statements about accepting responsibility for crashes while its self-driving car is operating itself. Volvo has reportedly made similar statements, though the Chinese-owned automaker pales in comparison to GM’s size, deep global reach, and influence. This marks the first breath of clarity on the convoluted subject of liability, and other automakers are likely to follow. However, Stirling points out GM cannot take responsibility for all self-driving vehicle crashes. Read his explanation below.
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With companies like Lyft and Uber taking the world by storm, it was only a matter of time before these companies started branching out and partnering with auto manufacturers. Autonomous cars are still a few years away – at least – but Lyft and GM are already looking to that somewhat-near future and are preparing to streamline the ride-sharing industry.
This preparation has led to a “long-term strategic alliance” between GM and Lyft that will bring about a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. GM President Dan Ammann said, “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous. With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.” John Zimmer, the president of Lyft, believes the alliance will “bring change to our daily lives” and should redefine car ownership.
What this alliance between GM and Lyft really means is that GM is investing $500 million in Lyft and will hold a seat on Lyft’s board of directors. GM is now the preferred provider of short-term use vehicles to Lyft drivers, who will have access to a wide range of cars and OnStar services. GM and Lyft will work together to provide personalized services to each other’s customers. As GM provides the cars and technology, Lyft is said to continue providing new transportation experiences.
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