General Motors has announced its driverless Cruise AV, a modified electric Chevy Bolt, which will be made without steering wheels or pedals. According to a report on Newsweek.com, GM issues a news bulletin saying that Cruise AV is designed to “operate safely on its own without a driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls when it goes on the road in 2019.” GM’s vehicle will not be the first one to get rid of conventional controls.
Driverless GM Taxis Coming in 2019
Google notably unveiled its Firefly pod car in 2014. However, when Cruise AV comes out next year, it will be the first production-ready vehicle designed to operate completely by itself without any need for a human driver. GM is ahead of Google’s self-driving division Waymo and Ford, which plans to build such a car only by 2021.
The arrival of fully driverless or autonomous vehicles could see a shift toward the end of privately owned vehicles, industry experts say. GM’s plan for the driverless Chevy Bolts is to use them as autonomous taxis nationwide. In fact, GM is said to be partnering with rideshare company Lyft to deploy thousands of these electric cars on U.S. roads in what would be the largest test of fully driverless cars by any automaker.
GM is also touting its vehicles as safe and clean. The automaker wrote in its 2018 Self-Driving safety report submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation: “Imagine a crowded city not filled with congested roads and parking lots and structures, but with efficiently moving traffic and more space.”
What About Safety?
We all know by now that driverless cars are inevitable. It’s not a question of if they’ll be on our roadways, but when. Right now it seems like they’ll be here sooner than we thought, regardless of whether we’re ready for them or not. However, the issue with these GM vehicles and all other driverless vehicles that are planned is whether all the kinks will be ironed out by the time these cars get on our roadways.
As car accident attorneys we are deeply concerned about putting cars on the road that are not ready to be there. The traveling public should not be used as guinea pigs to test out new technology regardless of how ground-breaking or cutting-edge it might be. We hope state and federal officials take a close look at these technologies as they evolve and put public safety before everything else.