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Transportation Technology

GM Says It Will Put Fleets of Self-Driving Cars In Cities In 2019 (detroitnews.com) 82

General Motors has laid out a plan to not only mass-deploy self-driving cars on public roads in 2019, but to do it profitably. "With a driverless ride-hailing service as its framework, GM is counting on cost reductions, advancements in autonomous technologies and growth of the ride-hailing market to enable a successful self-driving car launch in 2019," reports The Detroit News. From the report: The automaker is using the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt as its autonomous mule, dovetailing Thursday's autonomous projection with GM's earlier vow to roll out a profitable electric vehicle platform by 2021. "For GM to get the benefit they're looking for, they need these cars on the road at scale as soon as possible," said Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid. "With ride-hailing services, consumers are saved from sticker shock of how much an EV costs -- and the cost of automation in early years is going to be expensive, too." GM didn't say exactly where it plans to launch its driverless ride-hailing service, but identified "dense urban environments" in the presentation. The Detroit automaker's testbeds for the self-driving Bolt are in Warren, San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.
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GM Says It Will Put Fleets of Self-Driving Cars In Cities In 2019

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm moving to the country.

  • I remember back then that OS/2 was supposed to be the future. Folks were investing millions in it.

    What will happen if self-driving cars turn out to be a flop? Will we be able to at least salvage some of all that money that venture capitalists are throwing at it . . . ?

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @08:27AM (#55663043) Homepage

      Not really an apples-to-apples comparison, OS/2 flopped but only because a different brand of OS won the market while computer use itself exploded. For self-driving cars as a genre to flop it must either end up being unfeasible (cold fusion), unpractical (flying cars), too expensive for the mass market (private jets) or unwanted (3D TV) so that there is no winner just a dead end. Cars exists and are obviously all of the above. Self-driving cars would quite clearly practical and wanted. So it comes down to whether it can be done, at a cost people can pay.

      While it's a bit presumptuous to assert the latter before we've solved the former it seems to me that the cost estimates for a sufficient sensor array and equipment are well within the economically feasible compared to a taxi driver, limo service, truck driver and the luxury market - whether it'll be cheap enough to become a standard feature and whether it'll work under all conditions is a topic of debate but not really necessary to address. If it'll work in downtown Phoenix, it works somewhere and it would be strange if they can't expand on that.

      It doesn't mean that the first to market will be the winner in the long run though, before Google there was AltaVista and before Facebook there was MySpace. A self-driving car could be a huge game changer where "traditional" driving experience metrics don't matter because you're not driving, even taxis and such are heavily influenced by what they'd like to drive all day and it could be very disruptive for what we consider a "good car". But that's just competition, some might flop and implode like Nokia did in the cell phone market but that's because Apple and Google took over. Cell phones as such very much live on.

    • I remember back then that OS/2 was supposed to be the future. Folks were investing millions in it.

      What will happen if self-driving cars turn out to be a flop? Will we be able to at least salvage some of all that money that venture capitalists are throwing at it . . . ?

      When you push 3 tons of autonomous steel to market at the speed of IoT, you end up with the integrity and security of IoT as the result.

      You can't "salvage" human lives lost. Fuck these companies for pushing to be first to market faster than they should. I'm not necessarily against automation. I'm against the kind of fucking greedy mentality that makes any product ultimately unsafe.

      When human drivers kill 40,000 people a year in the US, but autonomous solutions "only" kill 30,000 people a year due to avo

      • by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @09:27AM (#55663145)

        When human drivers kill 40,000 people a year in the US, but autonomous solutions "only" kill 30,000 people a year due to avoidable glitches, Greed will still arrogantly sell that as a win.

        In my book, that is a win. And if the glitches were avoidable, that's even better, because that means the numbers will only go down in the future.

        • When human drivers kill 40,000 people a year in the US, but autonomous solutions "only" kill 30,000 people a year due to avoidable glitches, Greed will still arrogantly sell that as a win.

          In my book, that is a win. And if the glitches were avoidable, that's even better, because that means the numbers will only go down in the future.

          Latest drug on the market kills 75% of people because they rushed to market? Oh well, we can only improve from here!

          Latest pesticide poisons 75% of humans because of Greed? Oh well, more jobs to help reformulate!

          Let's hope your Charlie Sheen flavored formula of "winning" doesn't become infectious. Greed kills enough people today.

          • Latest drug on the market kills 75% of people because they rushed to market? Oh well, we can only improve from here!

            You're forgetting to mention that without the drug, 100% of the people would have died anyway. Oh, no, greed is saving 25% of the people!

            • Latest drug on the market kills 75% of people because they rushed to market? Oh well, we can only improve from here!

              You're forgetting to mention that without the drug, 100% of the people would have died anyway. Oh, no, greed is saving 25% of the people!

              Greed is responsible for rushing products prematurely to market, which has consequences. Consequences that are often easily avoidable. A bug in this case can end a life, not just lose the family pictures to ransomware or leak webcam video.

              You're also dismissing other risks with autonomous vehicle networks coming under attack and being responsible for causing more deaths than we have today, which perhaps could have also been avoided had a half-ass solution not been rushed to market. It's very odd how we a

              • Greed is responsible for rushing products prematurely to market, which has consequences.

                If the products end up saving lives overall, it's not premature.

                which perhaps could have also been avoided had a half-ass solution not been rushed to market

                We can also avoid a bunch of accidents if we didn't rush a bunch of immature teenagers behind the wheel, after they complete some half-ass test.

                You're also dismissing other risks with autonomous vehicle networks coming under attack and being responsible for causing more deaths than we have today

                You haven't shown that these risks are real.

                • by HiThere ( 15173 )

                  You're also dismissing other risks with autonomous vehicle networks coming under attack and being responsible for causing more deaths than we have today

                  You haven't shown that these risks are real.

                  He may not have the precise risks correct, but there will be problems that haven't been prepared for. These are complex systems, and it's impossible to thoroughly test them before distribution. But I see no reason to believe that they'll average worse than humans. That, however, is something that only time will reveal.

                  OTOH, it's nearly certain that they will have unexpected failure modes. This really needs to be prepared for, but we all know it won't be. If there's a major problem and all the autonomou

        • "In my book, that is a win. And if the glitches were avoidable, that's even better, because that means the numbers will only go down in the future."

          It's a win, I agree. BUT ... When autonomous vehicles kill or maim folks, it's a safe bet that the US -- and probably other countries as well -- legal systems are going to find the manufacturer liable. Who else are they going to blame? Given the tendency of juries to make ludicrous damage awards against outfits with deep pockets, that could eventually end up

      • When human drivers kill 40,000 people a year in the US, but autonomous solutions "only" kill 30,000 people a year due to avoidable glitches, Greed will still arrogantly sell that as a win.

        Even if autonomous vehicles resulted in 30,000 deaths a year (which they won't), saving 10,000 lives a year is a win. And the difference is that while the number of human-driver deaths keeps climbing (because people are too busy talking or texting on their smartphones to pay attention to the road), the number of autonomou

        • When human drivers kill 40,000 people a year in the US, but autonomous solutions "only" kill 30,000 people a year due to avoidable glitches, Greed will still arrogantly sell that as a win.

          Even if autonomous vehicles resulted in 30,000 deaths a year (which they won't), saving 10,000 lives a year is a win.

          When a hacker attacks a freeway full of autonomous vehicles during rush hour and causes 1,000 deaths to include one of your loved ones, you'll likely be revisiting your "winning" position here. The end result of a bug in this case isn't family pictures being lost to ransomware. Lives are on the line this time, and yet all I see are manufacturers rushing to market like they always do. Liability may be able to put a price tag on a life, but your loved one is gone forever, due to something that could have b

          • When a hacker attacks a freeway full of autonomous vehicles during rush hour and causes 1,000 deaths to include one of your loved ones, you'll likely be revisiting your "winning" position here.

            An when a hacker takes over an airplane. you'll be revisiting the plan to allow air travel.

            • When a hacker attacks a freeway full of autonomous vehicles during rush hour and causes 1,000 deaths to include one of your loved ones, you'll likely be revisiting your "winning" position here.

              An when a hacker takes over an airplane. you'll be revisiting the plan to allow air travel.

              I'm not advocating for a "good-enough" solution in any product, particularly where shit solutions can result in loss of life.

              Greed has dismissed Quality because Limited Liability makes it worth it, and justifies rushing to market with half-assed solutions.

              Far too often, Risk gets tossed out the window by Greed, with the end result of the masses being abused as test monkeys. We're better than that.

          • criminal Liability can not be EULAed a way nor can they make an victim sign an EULA

          • I haven't seen them rushing anything to market. Just because people started talking about it on facebook a couple years ago, doesn't mean they have only been working on the technology for 2 years. They have been working on this technology for a long time; it certainly isn't getting pushed out the door like wifi enabled toasters.
        • When human drivers kill 40,000 people a year in the US, but autonomous solutions "only" kill 30,000 people a year due to avoidable glitches, Greed will still arrogantly sell that as a win.

          I doubt it. Guns, outside of law enforcement, suicides and gang-murders kill so few people it's barely a rounding error[1], and yet there are still plenty of people who want them banned. Same with terrorism, mass shootings, etc. It's about fear, not numbers.

          [1] Citation [quora.com]

    • I have a question, âoewhere is g.m. going to park this fleet? At Hertz, or Enterprize?
    • If it flops they'll just ask for another 800 billion bailout. No real loss on their part.
  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @06:27AM (#55662921)

    A Beowulf cluster of Bolts

    Taking over the cars and forcing all their processors to mine bitcoins.

    A swarm of Killbots controlled by terrorists/hitmen/hackers.

    .

  • It's that they won't even sell the Bolt(Opel Ampera-e) in most of Europe. It's just a compliance car.

    • Thus demonstrating it's a bad idea for the regulators to force a company to make a product that the company think isn't commercially viable.

      Look at the EV-1. The consumers who tried it liked it but not enough people were willing to pay a price that made it viable. GM were forced to produce it so they had a lease scheme. But that wasn't viable for them either. As soon as they could kill it they did.

  • by tomservo84 ( 990233 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @07:03AM (#55662949)
    A Lot of Property in 2019" I especially like the part about "For GM to get the benefit they're looking for, they need these cars on the road at scale as soon as possible," Yes, because rushing code to production is ALWAYS a good idea, especially when it involves large heavy objects that can kill.
    • Exactly. When they say "GM is counting on....advancements in autonomous technologies" it means they don't even have the thing designed yet. Two years is barely enough time to test a highly reliable system (like autopilot, for example). If you don't have it designed yet, there's no way you're going to get it on the road in two years.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    are going to be killed by these things before we realize they were a bad idea?

    CAPTCHA: Embalm

    • by orlanz ( 882574 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @07:50AM (#55662985)

      Dear Horsebuggy Driver,

      I am not sure if you are talking about the cottengin, steam engine, train, steam car, motorcycle, mainframe, corn harvester, wind farm, aeroplane, iPhone, or Pokémon Go.

      Could you clarify?

      • So we should go back to the steam engine then? Is it your opinion that we should throw out all safety and efficiency gains made over the last 100 years so people can have their fun?
        • No, every one of those had someone say the same thing as the original poster. Everyone of them killed quite a number of people since inception. Most had quite a bit of safety measures prior to public deployment. And still the original cars were quite shitty to look at, mostly useless, and basically a fashion statement.

          Just because this one appears to be rushed doesnâ(TM)t mean it is. Today we have far more pre and post safety checks than anytime in history. But at the end of the day, true improvement

  • If an auto-driving auto gets into an accident, whose insurance covers the cost? What if you are drunk? What if you are pulled over for a sobriety check? I do not believe these questions as well as many others, have been addressed. Can you be charged with a DUI in a self-driving vehicle? An auto manufacturer pushing for more cars with questionable record of autonomy is no better than a pharmaceutical company pushing questionable drugs through the rubber-stamping FDA, yes, yes I know there are people who wil
    • If an auto-driving auto gets into an accident, whose insurance covers the cost?

      In an accident involving two+ vehicles, where it is impractical to discern blame, insurers would probably split claims. More interestingly, would all autonomous autos in the future have required insurance or be remotely disabled from operating?

      What if you are drunk?

      Then we'd much rather see you in an autonomous vehicle, so there will be no penalty for that.

      • If the vehicle was driving and did not pass the control off to me in a reasonable manner and I get in an accident, I'm not taking responsibility for that accident, no fucking way. The insurance company and the automaker can sort that one out.
      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Actually, under current law, I believe that if you are "operating" a self-driving car you need to have a license and be in a legal condition to drive. This may vary from state to state, of course.

    • If an auto-driving auto gets into an accident, whose insurance covers the cost?

      The one that caused the accident, just like now.

  • Will it be in my driveway when I step out the door, or will I have to wait for it like I do for a taxi today? Will it be clean? Will it have my music selection, with safe car seats installed, my sunglasses in the glasses holder or am I going to have to have a bag of stuff to bring every time I use one? I can't really see this being better in any way than the taxi's we have today.
    • by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @10:00AM (#55663251)

      You're totally right. This will completely fail because you have to bring your own sunglasses. I hope your message comes early enough for GM to see the huge mistake they are about to make.

    • It is actually rather straightforward to write some code that transfers your playlist and preferred seat position from one car to another. I worked for a such a project a few years ago - the end customer being a car sharing service.

  • For GM's effort to be successful, their lobbyists will also submit model legislation progressively requiring the abandonment of personal vehicles and hold harmless laws / limited liability for the manufactures and operators of autonomous vehicle systems. Brings to mind history:

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    "The General Motors streetcar conspiracy refers to convictions of General Motors (GM) and other companies for monopolizing the sale of buses and supplies to National City Lines (NCL) and its su

  • "Gee, a construction cone is out of place, 'better slow down..."

    "Gee, a plastic bag blew into the road, 'better stop..."

    I predict these cities will have the slowest traffic in the country.
    • "Gee, a construction cone is out of place, 'better slow down..."

      When the road is obstructed, I slow down.

      "Gee, a plastic bag blew into the road, 'better stop..."

      When a plastic bag blows into the road, I avoid it. I don't want it to cover over any of the grill area.

  • I didn't think the state & local laws were anywhere near prime-time ready for anything but prototypes or "autopilot" mode with driver.
  • One has to laugh at all these self driving car companies that do their development in places were it doesn't snow and often doesn't even rain a lot.

    Self driving car startups should be in places like Detroit and Buffalo...

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