General Motors is the huge American carmaker founded by William C. Durant in 1908. The company manufactures cars in 35 countries and the sales go worldwide under the various brands – Cadillac, Opel, Baojun, Holden, Buick, Wuling, Chevrolet, Isuzu, Jiefang, GMC, and Vauxhall.
The idea of the 1st GM self-driving car labeled EN-V (Electric Networked Vehicle) was presented by GM in 2011 at the World International Congress ITS. This two-seater mini-car employs different functions including automated parking, pedestrian recognition, collision avoidance, and the possibility to call this car using the smartphone. At the same time, GM has announced its cooperation with Carnegie Mellon University on self-driving cars development.
The GM’s first step towards implementation of some functions in self-driving technology on public roads was an active security system on Cadillac vehicles. In 2013, Sedans Cadillac XTS and ATS were equipped with 7 360-degree cameras, radar, and ultrasound sensors. The system employed a Full-Speed Range function being an enhanced cruise control including self-regulating speed on highways and an emergency brake system engaged in case of proximity warnings.
General Motors has developed its new technology named ‘Super Cruise’ which will be available for wide public in the fall of 2017 installed on 2018 model Cadillac CT6. It is capable of taking a partial control over a car mostly in road jams and during long distance rides on highways. Cadillac, equipped with Super Cruise, is capable of holding the line on the road, making turns, and stopping. Moreover, another system’s feature controls whether a driver is careful enough and focused on the road using infrared cameras built into the steering wheel. If a driver has been unfocused for a long time, the system gives a sound, visual signal, or makes a driver’s seat vibrate. Furthermore, if driver’s physical health is in danger, the car will stop and contact the emergency service OnStar.
On January 4, 2016, GM invested over 0.5 billion USD in the Lyft Company to collaborate on autonomous vehicles development. Lyft provides mobile app services to hail a taxicab when needed, and it branches operate in over than 300 cities across the US. Thus, GM driverless cars suppose to run on roads as vehicles labeled with Lyft brand name and provide transportation services. This strategy is efficient as one of the main obstacles to elaborate the self-driving technology is the complexity to use this technology in the different regions with various traffic and weather conditions. The use of driverless vehicles as taxi fleet that operates in limited regions, as a rule, largely contributes to the solution of this problem. In addition, various researches show that after autonomous cars are implemented, the car rent will become cheaper and more efficient than having the own car.
On March 11, 2016, it was told that General Motors acquires Cruise Automation company that has the HQ in the Silicon Valley that is engaged in the working out of self-driving cars for 1 billion dollars. Today Cruise Automation is GM’s affiliated company with huge investments for developing the autonomous driving technology. As much as $600 million have been spent in 2017, and it seems like expenditures will be even higher next year. Cruise Automation is to move to a new workplace by the end of 2017, and the number of its employees is planned to be increased by 1100 persons by 2022.
In 2016, the big testing of 50 self-driving cars Chevrolet Bolt EV started using the roads of public use in Scottsdale (Arizona), San Francisco and Detroit (Michigan). Electric cars Chevrolet Bolt EV had on board cameras, LIDAR system, and sensors.
On January 13, 2017, GM completed manufacturing another 130 self-driving cars Chevrolet Bolt EV with updated hardware installed on them. As a result, 180 test vehicles will run on the roads.