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GM Says Driverless Cars Will Be Ready By 2018

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the look-ma-no-hands dept.

Transportation 646

Gregor Stipicic writes "Cars that drive themselves — even parking at their destination — could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say. 'This is not science fiction,' Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview. GM plans to use an inexpensive computer chip and an antenna to link vehicles equipped with driverless technologies. The first use likely would be on highways; people would have the option to choose a driverless mode while they still would control the vehicle on local streets, Burns said. He said the company plans to test driverless car technology by 2015 and have cars on the road around 2018."

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Good (4, Funny)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960046)

I'm sure the AI will drive much better than some of the people on these roads in Boston LOL

Re:Good (2)

ccarson (562931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960104)

LOL - that's funny. Too true. Too true.

This was on the Drudge Report two days ago. Slashdot is starting to become just another slow news outlet.

Re:Good (1)

air monkey (1070686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960222)

The only way I would trust this with my life is if EVERY car was controlled. Mixing computer-driven cars and cars driven by overworked people distracted by iphone 3.0 could be a big mess. Especially when the you try to place blame in a collision.

Re:Good (1)

SighKoPath (956085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960226)

That, or the Massholes will find a way to take advantage of the driverless mode of other vehicles to make their reckless driving even worse.

Yes, I am bitter. I drive 128 almost every day.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960520)

I drive 128 almost every day.

Wow. And you call other people reckless?

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960666)

In California, state law prohibits driverless cars from exceeding 60 MPH.

And you probably thought that was a weird law. California's just ahead of the curve.

Headless computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960048)

Headless computers seem to work well, why not driverless cars :)

But the big question is... (2, Funny)

brown-eyed slug (913910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960064)

... but will they fly?

Re:But the big question is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960086)

No, the big question is whether General Motors will even exist in 2018.

Re:But the big question is... (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960324)

GM needs to come out with some crazy stuff like this soon because they're failing in their core products. They obviously can no longer compete when it comes to ordinary cars. So they need something extra-ordinary to sell or they won't exist for very long.

Re:But the big question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960312)

Answer: no

We will never get flying cars that are worth anything until we get some anti-gravity drive. And yet, I really would hope that in that case that AI is doing the flying and not the current "freedom" people have in cars. Just think about all the bad drivers with the freedom of space. "Oh, let me cross over this field as a shortcut. Oh shit.. COW!!" *boom*

And how well would the AI driven cars work between the none-AI (i.e. Human :) ) driven cars? Would all cars have to be replaced then? The future probably will be that the major cities will have a "use-a-car" stations which uses a linked transportation system. You enter the car at a station. Say your destination. The car takes off into a collective traffic (might merge with other cars as a linked train [seen this proposed for Copenhagen, Denmark]) and takes you to the closet station near your destination.

Re:But the big question is... (1)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960434)

But I was promised flying cars! I don't see any flying cars.

Re:But the big question is... (2, Interesting)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960426)

... but will they run Linux?

I certainly don't want my car running Windows CE. If it can't keep my phone from crashing cars are out of the question.

Re:But the big question is... (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960688)

but will they fly?

They might if Microsoft writes the software and they try to exit from the wrong off ramp. There are people dying in flying cars all the time!

Re:But the big question is... (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960712)

Flying cars will happen in 2020, or so they say.

I started collecting a list of things that people have said that should happen on a certain date or year in the future. So far 4 dates on my list have passed and none of them has happened.

But no worries, because after year 2024 we can wait forever for these to happen: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/12/03/164257&tid=191&tid=14 [slashdot.org]

The possibilities are endless! (4, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960100)

Just imagine the crossover deals this will open up.

"Drive to Pathmark"

"Pathmark is overrated. Destination modified to Walmart." *doors lock*

Re:The possibilities are endless! (4, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960284)

Eventually, GOOG will use it's huge market cap to move in to the Auto space. They will begin offering free, advertising-sponsored cars. They will monitor your driving habits and steer you near relevant businesses, showing ads for the businesses in the HUD.

Re:The possibilities are endless! (3, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960334)

Gods, I hope my girlfriend isn't in the car when I pass Cindy's [Topless] Steakhouse!

Re:The possibilities are endless! (2, Funny)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960632)

And, diabolically enough, Google can escape any blame for accidents because it will likely only be a beta.

And monkeys might fly out of my butt (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960138)

I'm pretty sure the encylopedias that my parents had (published in the late 70s) mentioned driverless cars as something coming in the near future. So forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical on this. I still want my flying car!

Re:And monkeys might fly out of my butt (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960640)

The technology not only exists for autonomous cars, but have been implemented in various forms already. California made a special HOV lane 10 years ago [wikipedia.org] that allowed specially equipped cars to drive themselves in those lanes close to each other. The project was apparently abandoned due to political pressure, not due to technical reasons.

There will not be a mass-produced flying car though. That simply requires too much energy and we have a large enough energy problem as it is. Unless you want to use a derigible there is drag induced just by the act of flying which causes an additional amount of energy to be consumed as opposed to staying on the ground.

Too bad... (2, Funny)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960146)

Too bad others have predicted the world will come to an end in 2012.

Re:Too bad... (1, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960480)

If by "world", you mean GM, yes it will end before then.

Open your eyes, folks: Here's [cnn.com] GM's financials. Notice how most of the numbers are useless since they weren't designed for handling negative numbers. It's trading at $23, after last year's *per share* loss of $65. If Google dropped 90%, it would still be worth 50% more than GM.

It's even trying to pay a dividend (!) while suffering massive legacy costs that its foreigners don't have, or properly funded.

Q: What do you do if you know how to program a driverless car?
A: Work for a car company that can pay you WITHOUT deducting from your pay to cover the pensions of millions of people you've never met.

Cue first BSoD joke in... 3...2..1... (0)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960152)

Being a code monkey, I am deeply concerned how reliable the on board computer and firmware are for these vehicles.

Pun warning! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960240)

It certainly brings a whole new meaning to "the halting problem" [wolfram.com] !

Re:Cue first BSoD joke in... 3...2..1... (0)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960366)

Being a person and a coder, having experience with both humans and software, I can confidently tell you that computer-controlled cars will have lower fatality rates than cars controlled by humans. Computers won't drive drunk, fall asleep, tailgate, scream at their boyfriends over their cellphones, or "zone-out." They will be able to instantly notify all nearby cars if there is a mechanical problem with the cars. The nearby cars will have instant reaction time.

There will be mistakes and deaths, but they will be far fewer than we have today.

Re:Cue first BSoD joke in... 3...2..1... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960510)

Oh, there's no need to worry about BSODs because Microsoft makes automotive software [microsoft.com] .

*shudder*

Re:Cue first BSoD joke in... 3...2..1... (1)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960676)

About as reliable as take-off and landing software on airplanes I'd say. Or perhaps communications links from the control tower to the plane. Don't take the unreliability of the consumer PC market as some unavoidable fact of life. Given limited scope and enough resources, reliable systems *can* and have been designed and built since the first engineers started tinkering with stuff.

Re:Cue first BSoD joke in... 3...2..1... (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960702)

Probably more reliable than the average monkey brain. There will be accidents of course. The huge difference will be liability and insurance.

What they really ought to be working on... (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960154)

..is REPAIRLESS cars! They make utter crap!

Re:What they really ought to be working on... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960614)

Aren't these the same people who are complaining they can't create the technology to meet the updated CAFE standards by 2012... but they will be able to get the technology to create a driverless car by 2018?


Do you think they even consult their engineers before releasing press statements?

Right... (1, Troll)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960158)

This coming from the same company that can't seem to get fleet-wide fuel economy out of the low 20s.

Work on getting a car that gets decent gas mileage first, THEN make them drive themselves. Baby steps now...

Re:Right... (2, Insightful)

AP2k (991160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960498)

GM had cars during the 80s that got better fuel economy than most hybrids of today (50-60 mpg, with carburetors no less). Few wanted them then and few want them today.

Re:Right... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960526)

They make plenty of cars that get better than 20. By saying fleet wide this just means that the consumers have decided that low fuel usage isn't as important as other qualities in vehicles.

Re:Right... (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960634)

Actually, a self-driving car WOULD get better gas mileage. Computers aren't reasonable, but they're logical.
  • It wouldn't race to the next red light, but infuriate you (like I do my passengers) by taking its virtual foot off the virtual gas pedal as soon as the light ahead turned red
  • It wouldn't waste gas idling at the green light with its finger up its ass
  • It wouldn't go east to get west (unless Microsoft made its nav system)
  • It wouldn't pick the route with the most stop signs
You can already improve your mileage on the interstate (or autobahn) by using your cruise control.

-mcgrew

Does this mean... (4, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960162)

...that someone will have to come up with maps that are accurate? I don't mean ones that have pinpoint accuracy on the locations of roads, but thoroughfares with special conditions. I'd hate to riding in a car in autopilot that decided it could turn the wrong way down a one way street because the map data didn't show it.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960244)

I think the cars can't just rely on map data - they need to "see" as well. That means people, detour signs, construction work, "road closed" etc. There will also probably need to be a standard "local update" system where the road crews can put in a beacon that broadcasts local updated information for the area.

Of course, security on all this stuff needs to be tight - imagine if some guy hacks his car to spit out messages like "I'm an ambulance, get out of the way!"

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960734)

Imagine if some guy paints his van white and puts flashing lights on top and buys a siren... as for your other point, this will be highway-only at first, which is easy on those long stretches of cross-country highway. I wouldn't expect something to navigate complicated interchange lanes or anything, but it would be nice to hit the "drive control" and have it be able to follow the lines around a shallow turn or hold the car straight while I unwrap my cheeseburger.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

strcpy(NULL,... (1089693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960310)

Obviously, you didn't RTFA.. It specifically mentions augmented road signs..

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960664)

Funny, I went back to TFA to see if I missed something. Doing a search on "sign" doesn't return any results (other than being part of the word significant). Are you finding this in another related article? Or are implying that this will be part of cars being able to "talk with highway systems?"

There's a high degree of confidence in presuming that some form of roadway infrastructure improvements will be necessary, but the details didn't come through in the linked article, as far as I can tell. And considering that Burn's statements are really not much more than forward-looking visions without the details or design, it's anyone's guess as to what the capabilities and requirements will be at this point.

Sounds about right. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960164)

I haven't driven a GM car in years. So yeah I can see GM cars becoming driverless within my lifetime.

Thank you for using Johnny Cab! (1)

mamono (706685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960168)

This seriously needs the whatcouldpossiblygowrong tag!

Re:Thank you for using Johnny Cab! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960686)

Well, what do you expect when you have a holographic doctor doing the driving?

who cares (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960174)

this has the same problems as a non gasoline/diesel fuel source: lack of infrastructure. Who's going to pay for antennas every quarter mile for our trazillion mile highway network?

Regular maintenance... (1)

BornAgainSlakr (1007419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960178)

Will regular maintenance of these cars still involve replacing water pumps, alternators, sunroof motors, batteries, etc.? Fundamentals first, people.

I - robot for one (1)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960186)

I, for one,welcome our car driving overlords.

Re:I - robot for one (1)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960224)

Our automatic car-driving overlords

WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (-1, Troll)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960202)

WHY are these bozos spending money on this? Who needs a driver-less car?

    Hey, Let me guess. The Saudis NEED driverless cars when their wives, daughters, and girlfriends want to go to the mall and there is no male around to drive them.

    Fair enough (for them). But why in the civilized world would anyone need a driverless car? There's no shortage of people who would be happy to have a job driving for you if you don't drive.

    So why are they spending all this money on this nonsense?

Re:WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960396)

So why are they spending all this money on this nonsense?
Don't discourage them! I want the driverless cars to be ready in time to take the kids to soccer practice for me!

Re:WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960440)

I would love one. I hate driving. I guess it's okay but I'd much rather just sit back and interact with my family instead of having to drive. It also would be really nice to be able to take a quick nap when you need one without having to find somewhere to pull off and stop.

Re:WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (1)

Gotung (571984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960446)

WHY are these bozos spending money on this? Who needs running water? Hey, Let me guess. The Saudis NEED running water when their wives, daughters, and girlfriends want to drink some and there is no male around to get it for them them. Fair enough (for them). But why in the civilized world would anyone need running water? There's no shortage of people who would be happy to have a job filling buckets from a well for you if you don't want to do so yourself. So why are they spending all this money on this nonsense?

Re:WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960484)

I need a driverless car. I want to be able to sleep/study/play video games while on the road. I want the the perfect attention and instant response of a computer keeping me safe. And I don't want to pay someone to do it for me.

Seriously, how can you even ask this question? Have you ever heard of the broken window fallacy?

Re:WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960670)

The Saudis NEED driverless cars when their wives, daughters, and girlfriends want to go to the mall and there is no male around to drive them
 
Then they'd have to sit in the parking lot because there wouldn't be a male relative to escort them in public.
 
  So why are they spending all this money on this nonsense?
 
My bet is some GM execs saw "I, Robot".

Re:WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960682)

Alcoholics will benefit tremendously from this technology.

Re:WHY are these bozos spending money on this? (1)

teasea (11940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960710)

WHY are these bozos spending money on this? Who needs a driver-less car?
Personally, I can't think of a single reason. [alcoholalert.com] I'm certain that all people everywhere will begin paying designated drivers rather than spend that last $20 on 3 more shots of Jager. Besides, these first models won't work perfectly which obviously means they never will. Such pie-in-the-sky endeavors should never even be considered.

Taking a long nap (1)

SPickett (911670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960206)

Saint Peter at the pearly gates early in 2018: So, how did you die? New car owner: Well, the new, full-featured, driverless cars were too expensive. So, I bought the cheaper version, turned it on and hopped in the back seat for a short nap. Turns out it was just a cruise control and the nap turned out to be longer than I expected.

If I believe anyone, I believe GM (5, Interesting)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960228)

I will remain pseudonymous, but I will say that my current area of research (I am a graduate student) is tangentially related to this field, related enough that I've looked into trying to convince GM to give me funding (so far nothing has materialized). Specifically my research looks deals with programming language design (e.g., making less-than-Turing-complete-but-still-useful programming languages structured in useful ways) to aid in static analysis. The aim is at safety-critical code (nuclear power plant code, industrial controller code, automotive software) such that you can say "barring hardware failure, this code is 100% guaranteed to meet hard realtime constraints", etc.

Anyway, at least publicly, GM is probably the most impressive car company in terms of researching these sorts of things. I feel kind of bad for GM. I hear they're selling terribly and are even selling at a loss on many cars, but their research department really is something impressive. Maybe they're a little bit Microsoft-ish in that their research department is heavily insulated from the rest of the company, I don't know. But GM is doing a lot of cool stuff and funding a lot of cool stuff with regards to "correct" software.

If it were some other random company, I would probably roll my eyes and say "oh they'll probably just test it really really heavily and then tell us that it works", but more than most companies, I trust GM to develop cool technology (such as novel static analysis techniques) to get this to work. Their R&D [gm.com] is active in a lot of areas, 99% I'm sure will never amount to anything, but I wouldn't doubt it if they could get the technology together to get auto-driving cars in 10 years.

Disclaimer: as I mentioned before, my efforts to get GM funding are still unsuccessful, and consequently I'm not on GM payroll in any imaginable way. I don't even drive a GM car (or any car). In fact their cars look kind of lame in general, but their R&D department in Cool.

Re:If I believe anyone, I believe GM (1)

Zuato (1024033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960576)

They have the R&D to do this, but the real question is do they have the cash to do this. As it stands they are losing money (and market share) rapidly.

I hope they survive and hope that things like the Volt concept actually make it to dealership, but I am not holding my breath at the moment in their current financial state.

what a time saver (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960232)

If my car could drive itself, I would buy a big car and live in it. Sleep your way to work, do your homework on the way to school, commute from Vegas to Denver every day. Screw a house- that money is now gas money. If only wireless broadband were faster...

Re:what a time saver (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960414)

I would buy a big car and live in it. Sleep your way to work, do your homework on the way to school, commute from Vegas to Denver every day. Screw a house- that money is now gas money. If only wireless broadband were faster...
You're going to wait until 2018. Hell I do this now!

Re:what a time saver (1)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960454)

All you need is Mr Fusion so you can take a shit for fuel!

What about flying cars? (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960256)

Driverless cars sound nice, but I really want a flying car [theonion.com] .

It's a good thing GM is doing this.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960302)

.... As I wouldn't want to be in a FORD product running Microsoft Software [syncmyride.com] that could drive itself.

already done - it was called the Pontiac Aztec (2, Insightful)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960304)

Granted, it was only driverless because it was buyerless, but there is prior art here.

Does this mean we can drink and drive again? (0)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960306)

I mean, back in the "good" old days, it was common for people in the USA to ride around with a beer in the hand. Nowadays, of course, that's been made illegal. But, if cars are driving themselves, then, why not pop a cold one and enjoy the ride?

dont need customers without drivers (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960336)

Just send them out on the road.

Never gonna legally happen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960340)

Mixing driven and automated cars will never happen because of liability.

Who is at fault - the guy driving his car or the guy reading his newspaper without his hands on the wheel?

HHhhmmm... actually the guy reading the newspaper can't be because he had no control over the car so it must be the company that created the car.

What company is going to stay in that business?

Culpability (5, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960342)

So, when a driverless car runs a red light, who gets the ticket? The owner? The manufacturer? The software company? Hell, they have automated machines that issue red light tickets now, so will one pile of metal and software issue the ticket to the other? Will the machines develop their own monetary system, will driverless cars figure out hacks to avoid the tickets, and will the robot machines have their own jails and prisons? Capital punishment = execution by power surge or by fatal software virus? This smacks too much of a bad Twilight Zone episode.

Really? (2, Funny)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960348)

Apparently there'll be a copy of Duke Nukem Forever in the glove box.

GM assumes liability for driverless car accidents (5, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960356)

I'm not an attorney (I'm also not an acronym kinda guy) - But it seems by assuming control of the car GM would also be assuming responsibility for the occupants of the vehicle and any other involved in a collision.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

It seems to me the only way this technology ever winds up on the road is if the owner of the car signs a waver at the car dealership to hold GM harmless and assume all responsibility for driverless mode accidents.

Re:GM assumes liability for driverless car acciden (4, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960622)

That's a very important point, and I hope more people take note of what you said. The primary barriers to this kind of thing are political, not technological. If I injure or kill someone through my driving, what's the most you could hope to sue me for? Maybe a million dollars. But if the car was self-driving, well hey, that's a company with deep pockets. You could sue me for a lot more!

Now who can handle the insurance policy on that?

Then, of course, inane regulation.

Never mind that these will be safer and less obstructive than 95% of drivers. Never mind that they'll end the problem of drunk driving. Never mind that they will massively increase productivity. Everyone has to get their piece.

Re:GM assumes liability for driverless car acciden (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960654)

I can see:

GM touts driverless car with collision avoidance software
drunk person slams into car.
GM gets sued for not avoid the drunk.

Imagine (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960370)

A Beowulf cluster of them.

...Probably (5, Interesting)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960376)

I work for a company[1] that (among other automation projects) is working on driverless cars. Interestingly, the biggest problems we face are not those of perception (though there's more work to do there as well), but of the cost of the necessary sensors / processing power. We have a car now that can drive up to 70 mph safely (detecting obstacles, other traffic, etc) and we think we can get it up to 100 mph. However, it has a rack of four powerful servers where the back seats used to be and a price tag of over $750,000 - just for parts; labor is extra.

With the speed with which processing power and sensors become cheaper and more widely available, I think 10 years is definitely attainable. The tech is here, most of the problems are solved, we just have to wait for the price point to come down.

[1] I was going to put our URL here, but the IT dept will kill me if the servers get /.ed. ;)

Long Haul Trucking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960386)

The big deal here is not for individual people, but for long haul trucking as a business. If it can survive the rising oil prices, this will serve to make cross country shipping faster (no mandatory breaks after 8 hours of driving) and cheaper. Theoretically, a truck could drive across the country in just under a day, even at 60 mph. If GM isn't just pulling yet another publicity stunt to distract people from their coming bankruptcy, the next ten years could be very interesting

Just in time! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960394)

I'll be 65 (or 66 depending) years old. I hope I don't get the attitude my dad (now 76) has about computers and cell phones, "I lived [n} years without [x] and I don't need one now!"

His father in law said the same thing about indoor plumbing.

Are we there yet?

Cars that drive themselves... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960402)

also crash themselves.

Just saying...

Other great predictions (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960412)

"Spam will be a thing of the past in two years' time." Bill Gates in 2004.

"Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years." Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955.

"Read my lips. NO NEW TAXES." George Bush, 1988

And plenty of others...

Crawl before you walk (1)

Nodamnnicknamesavial (1095665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960432)

How about you, GM, concentrate on creating cars that don't suck first? Preferably ones that are profitable enough as to not put you out of business.

Honestly I don't see how GM can predict what they'll do in 2015, when it's looking rather uncertain whether they will make it to 2010 at all - mostly due to a bad product, bad management, bad market prediction and good unions. :)

It's About Time! (4, Insightful)

pickapeppa (731249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960474)

Between texting, eating, putting on makeup, smoking, futzing with the radio, surfing the Internet for the nearest Burger Doodle, and so many other things to do in the car, driving is SUCH a distraction.

Would legal/insurance issues kill it? (4, Insightful)

bn0p (656911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960476)

Even if the technical issues were all resolved (which is not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination), what about the legal and insurance issues? Until the insurance companies jump on the bandwagon, this will go nowhere.

It's not like ALL the cars on the road will be driverless. Who is responsible for a crash that occurs while you aren't driving and are reading or asleep (why else would you want a driverless car)?

They might have better luck putting driverless "taxis" in crowded downtown areas where traffic moves slowly - that would reduce the damage and injuries associated with accidents at higher speeds.


Never let reality temper imagination

Lame BS From a Dying Company (0, Troll)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960492)

Like all American car companies, GM has earned a reputation for technical incompetence, building cars that are unreliable, unsafe, and behind the curve. Rather than actually fix what's wrong, they think the solution is to change their image. So they keep coming up with fancy projects that are supposed to make us think they're looking to the future. Fuel cell cars, plug-in hybrids (this from a company that can't even do an ordinary hybrid!) and now driverless cars. Does anybody really think these will ever be more than "concepts"?

We already have those! (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960496)

We already call driverless cars. You can find them in parking lots and in front of buildings everywhere.

They're just covering (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960538)

They're just covering for our illegal Cybertronian immigrants. Stop those Autobot moochers from raising your taxes!

How about... (1)

nugx (994844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960542)

How about cars that dont get shitty gas mileage? Think thats possible before the turn of the century, GM?

Re:How about... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960728)

How about cars that dont get shitty gas mileage?

Actually, this may be part of that solution. For the most part the guy behind the wheel causes his own problems with gas mileage by driving like a 12 year old jackoff who's high on Jolt cola. In this age, the more control we take from the driver the better off we probably are. We'd exceed the 1 mpg/year claim that a lot of environmentalists make by getting Joe Sixpack to sit back and enjoy the nice music instead of having him ride the ass of the car in front of him only to break hard at the first sign of a slow down ahead and switching lanes (thus forcing other drivers to slam their breaks on).

Aside from that the best thing consumers can do is continue to buy high MPG cars in the hopes that it pushes researchers to produce better goods by demand. Legislation is a poor substitute for listening to the will of the consumer who sees his dollars as votes.

Riderless cars (1)

yoyoq (1056216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960566)

good , now start work on riderless cars

GM itself will be driverless (0, Troll)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960590)


  by 2018, GM will be a giant empty husk of a parts supplier.

MS Software (1)

jpetts (208163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960596)

You appear to be heading directly for a vulnerable cyclist. What would you like to do?

1. Run the bastard of the road?
2. Sideswipe him into a bush?
3. Scare the crap out of him?

The problem is Pushing Tin (1, Troll)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960600)

The problem GM faces is that it's pushing tin at a time that people don't want tin.

We don't want chrome.

What we really want are inexpensive reliable plug-in biodiesel hybrids that get more than 100 mpg (60 mpg highway after 50 mile battery range).

What we want is not living our lives for ever faster speeds (performance), but instead our nation to invest in high-speed passenger trains like those in Europe and Japan that can get 200 or more mph and generate one-tenth the global warming emissions and pollution that flying does.

We don't need extra devices that shade the sun depending on where it is - we need a car that just works.

That's the problem.

And automated driverless cars aren't the solution for the problem - they're the solution to a problem that doesn't exist, unless you live near LA where the commute is 2-3 hours to get to work or get home.

Demos of automated GM cars from a decade ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960610)

Yay! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960618)

Now where's my driver-less flying car? I mean it, flying cars won't ever get anywhere unless they're "driver-less".

Tech 10 years off isn't sci-fi? (3, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960630)

How many times have heard the story that technology X is only a decade away, then another 10 years later Technology X is ust another decade away?
In my book, if you an't roll something out within 18 months, it's vapor. Talking about something you think is a decade away is just lip service clearly trying to generate some PR and drve up stock a few cents for the day.

The Next Format War (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960642)

...link vehicles equipped with driverless technologies.
I can't wait to see how many competing and incompatible standards this industry can come up with..

Oh boy remote control cars! (1)

BlueshiftVFX (1158033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960648)

and only about a month ago people were concerned about cars with On-star that could have certain systems taken over by remote, now we will have a car that can be fully controlled or "Hacked" I don't know, but the more convenience and supposed security that come with every thing digital seems like a myth. back in the old days thieves needed to tunnel into the vault, or physically mug you and take your cash, now all they have to do is swap cashiers interact machines with one that has a blue tooth device hot wired into it, and steal all your money with out ever leaving the couch.

One Thing not well-addressed in TFA (2, Insightful)

dunadan67 (689682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960662)

I'm sure designers have taken this all into account, but I'd still be concerned with control systems for pedestrian avoidance, sensors determining whether the small object in front is a newspaper or a rock to be avoided, and predicting behaviors of bicyclists, etc. Sometimes its better to run over a squirrel than break suddenly and risk being rear-ended or swerve around it.

Automatic control (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960674)

This interests me but purely from a technological and safety point of view. I work in aviation, most aircraft have some form of "autopilot" even if it just automatic stabilisation.

One of the rotary wing aircraft I work on had an analogue system (around 30 years old) that was capable of applying one third of the control required to correct in the time it took a human pilot to notice a percievable change in attitude.

A growing trend now is to assume that the computer is less likely to make a mistake than a human, ergo let the computer take control. To the point - how is the driver supposed to react in the event of a system failure? If the system can detect a change far quicker then it can take over quickly enough to prevent a problem but a human cannot.

Bad Idea Jeans (1)

tyrantking31 (1115607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960704)

This is the worst idea since they started letting people drive.

If history is a guide (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960714)

This means that they'll abandon driverless cars in 2019. Then Toyota will start making them in 2020 and soon make even more money hand over fist. In 2022, GM while ask congress for a bail-out and claim it is "too expensive" to make a driverless car.
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