Self-driving cars will become a reality by 2020, says GM’s Alan Taub

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 17, 2011

It’s not a secret anymore that vehicles that drive themselves will replace the conventional cars seen on the streets today, but it appears that normal people like us are not the only ones thinking of them. That’s right folks! Car manufacturers are also thinking and the last person to confirm these type of cars is GM’s Vice President of Global Research and Development Alan Taub, who said that vehicles that partially drive themselves will be available by the middle of the decade while the self-driving systems will come by the end of the decade.

Taub talked about these cars at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Orlando on Sunday. Apparently, the self-driving cars will use today’s technologies, such as sensors, radars, portable communication devices, GPS and cameras, Combined with digital maps, these technologies will be able to drive the vehicle while the drive will do something else… reading a newspaper for example!

“The technologies we’re developing will provide an added convenience by partially or even completely taking over the driving duties,” Taub said. “The primary goal, though, is safety. Future generation safety systems will eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they’re even aware of a hazardous situation.”

Volt could become on of the best autonomous vehicles. Considered to be in a class all by itself, the 2011 Volt from Chevrolet is an electric vehicle that offers extended range. It started what may well be a new class for the automotive market.

With five doors and the ability to accommodate four passengers, the 2011 has the advantages one can expect from an electric vehicle but without any of the limitations associated with range. It needs to be stated though that the 2011 is not a hybrid.

Rather, it is a unique electric vehicle that has been developed and created to be driven no matter what the climate is. Powering this model is the ground-breaking Voltec propulsion system from GM.

It is composed of a lithium-ion battery pack, with output at 16 kWh, plus an electric drive unit, that depending on the temperature, driving method, and terrain, can go for at least 25 miles and as far as 50 miles. Helping it is the 1.4-liter gas-powered engine that, on a tank full of fuel, can stretch the range to as high as 310 miles. This is only possible with the engine running the electric drive system. It goes back to the drive system once the battery is recharged or even plugged in.

Because of this, the 2011 Volt stands out from all other electric vehicles in the market. Unlike these other electric vehicles, it can run even if it is not yet possible to recharge it like during a long trip or power interruption. According to Volt global vehicle line executive Doug Parks, the 2011 Volt offers an electric driving experience that’s efficient, productive, fun, safe, and intuitive -- all the qualities expected from a premium vehicle.

GM North America President Mark Reuss meanwhile shared that the 2011 Volt is a car that customers will want to solely own. This is because everything they want is in the 2011 Volt, he added. He cited its advanced style, innovative propulsion system, lively driving dynamics, safety features that are top of the line, premium amenities, and technologies that are user-friendly.

The total time spent in manufacturing the 2011 Volt, from designing to engineering to building and to the actual delivery, was 29 months, or a little over 2 years. Customers who are interested in the 2011 Volt should expect it to arrive at their favourite dealers before 2010 ends. It will come with a standard trim level though two packages are made available. The first is the Premium Trim Package while the second is the Rear Camera and Park Assist Package.

Topics: gm, autonomous car

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