During a media debut on Tuesday, a self-driving Chevy Bolt drove on the crowded streets of San Francisco. Autonomous vehicle research has been growing lately with major automakers and technology leaders like Alphabet Inc and Intel Inc investing billions into these projects.
“Our mission is to bring this technology to commercial deployment at scale, with safety, as soon as we humanly can do that,” GM President Dan Ammann told reporters. Ammann also mentioned Chief Executive Mary Barra’s promise in October that GM would roll out self-driving cars within “quarters, not years.”
However, during the debut of the autonomous Chevy Bolt it had some trouble maneuvering around double parked cars, orange traffic cones, but it was a taco truck that confused the A.I. Bolt. Other than that, the car had no problems driving down the streets at no more than 20mph. It navigated urban traffic with out much problems except for the a few obstacles that got in the way. The taco truck was just too much for the technology, eventually human intervention had to take place. The human sitting in the Bolt’s drivers seat had to disengage the system and take control of the car, all this after the autonomous car waited for more than a minute behind the parked taco truck where construction workers were ordering lunch.
The autonomous Bolt kept looking for a clear path to drive. The sensors are suppose to detect obstacles like traffic cones or double-parked cars. The car’s A.I. software analyzes the setting and then decides when to go around the obstacles itself.
GM says these issues will be improved over time, it is still a work in progress. Recently GM overtook Tesla as the largest U.S. automaker by market capitalization. GM plans to launch a range of electric vehicles in 2021. The plan is to challenge Tesla, which is bleeding money and having production struggles with the Model 3.
Meanwhile, Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving unit is launching a self-driving robo-taxi service in suburban Phoenix. Plans are to begin carrying passengers within months. In this emerging sector companies see Waymo as the one to beat.
Image credit: green car reports