Via its subsidiary Cruise, General Motors will have the opportunity to test self-driving cars in the streets of San Francisco at the end of the year. Their particularity: they will be entirely empty because there will be no emergency driver.
Cruise Automation CEO Dan Ammann communicated the good news at the end of last week and the American believes that this first full-scale test of an autonomous electric car will be a game-changer.
“We need big solutions, and we need them now“
Cruise Automation has been authorized to test 100% autonomous cars, that is, without the presence of emergency drivers on board. The procedure for the test phases requires the presence of a human in the passenger compartment, to regain control in the event of a problem with the artificial intelligence, but Cruise is now free from it and will use this right at the end of the ‘year.
“Today, Cruise received permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to remove emergency human drivers from its self-driving cars,” Ammann explains. ” We are not the first company to receive this permit, but we are the first to use it on the streets of a major American city. “
Cruise Automation uses electric Chevrolet Bolts, and it is this model that will be used for the full-scale test in San Francisco. For Dan Ammann, seeing these cars evolve on their own is a huge step forward. “It will be a quiet moment, but its echo could be very loud. All anyone will see will be a car driving silently, alone, in the city. She won’t go fast. She won’t have an accident. It will roll silently at its cruising speed”.
San Francisco: a challenge more than a playground
Besides being a major city, and therefore one of the most difficult places to approach in terms of traffic, San Francisco is above all one of the cities with the most topography and streets. complicated to manage. Differences in height, tight bends, presence of a tram: everything will be a challenge for these AIs left to their own devices, but this is precisely what Cruise Automation wants.
“Even if we don’t throw anything in the sky, this is our trip to the Moon. And the chaotic, rough streets of San Francisco are our launching pad. Although it would be easier to do it in the suburbs, where driving is 30 to 40 times less complex, our cities are the starting point of the global transport crisis. This is where accidents, pollution, traffic jams, and lack of accessibility meet,” concludes Ammann.