Former GM R&D chief says driverless vehicles possible by 2020

Article by Anita Panait, on April 10, 2012

Travelling from one place to another without actually driving a vehicle may seem a dream to most people. But it’s a tough trek for most visionaries who are working day and night to develop self-driving vehicles! The dream may soon turn into reality in 2020 as forecasted by Larry Burns, former head of R&D at General Motors. 

According to Burns, a speaker at the University of Michigan Robotics Day, shared fleets of driverless vehicles will soon transport people from one place to another at any time they wish. The vehicle will then serve another passenger at the nearest location. According to Burns, his vision allows for fewer, lighter vehicles in cities, no crashes and lower emissions.

Burns added that the vision will allow people to spend more time in doing other activities while travelling without driving. The former head of GM’s R&D noted that most people spend around 60 to 90 minutes travelling a day, and people could use that time for other activities should self-driving vehicles become a reality. Burns shared his research with Google, which had been conducting experiments with driverless cars in California using six Toyota Prius models and an Audi TT.

The cars were installed with radar and video cameras that allows tracking of its position on the map and watch for stop lights and obstacles.According to Google, it has put the vehicles through 1,000 miles of testing in California, and another 140,000 miles with intermittent human interference. A real driver could override vehicle control. The only accident the testing met was caused by another vehicle, which bumped the rear of a test car. [source: Autonews]

Topics: gm

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