GM Has ‘Aggressive’ Plans for Self-Driving Cars
GENERAL MOTORS IS quietly developing autonomous vehicle technology and plans to have a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Volts roaming the campus of its technical center in suburban Detroit next year.
The company has been relatively quiet about the technology, which companies like Google, Tesla Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi have championed with big promises and impressive demonstrations. But General Motors is no stranger to autonomous tech, which is started exploring almost a decade ago when it collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University for an autonomous vehicle competition sponsored by DARPA.
It plans to capitalize on that work with “Super Cruise,” a semi-autonomous feature that will let a car handle itself on the freeway. The feature is expected to appear on an unspecified Cadillac model next year. The company also will deploy a fleet of robo-Volts, with engineers at the wheel just in case, at the Warren Technical Center.
The center, in suburban Detroit, covers roughly a square mile and features many of the variables autonomous vehicles would encounter in an urban area. Eleven miles of road criss-cross the center, which includes intersections, roundabouts, pedestrians, and cyclists. In that way, it’s GM’s own little city. “We’ll leverage that,” Barra told WIRED. “There’s so much you learn by actually doing.”