Tesla Motors Inc might have an edge in self-driving tech, but several major automakers wish to join the race, and many approaches are emerging fast. One approach is that of Tesla’s – to put the driverless vehicle technology directly in the hands of car owners – while that of GM is to keep the control with itself (at least initially), says a report from Fortune.
What are GM’s self-driving plans?
GM CEO Mary Barra spoke about it at the Q3 earnings conference call on Monday. Barra said that in the initial stages, the firm will have the deployment of self-driving cars capable of safely navigating city streets without human intervention in a controlled, ride-sharing environment.
Barra also explained the reason behind its alliance with on-demand ride service Lyft, and about the launch of its car-sharing program Maven. The firm will allow the buyers to order initial self-driving cars on demand, said Barra, who added that those will have speed limitations and operate within restricted geographic boundaries only.
“That’s why the ownership will stay with the company in these first models as we continue to learn. And that path is very much on track,” she said.
To be precise, GM plans of deploying self-driving cars as a service, rather than selling fully autonomous vehicles to private individuals. This is in-line with GM’s partnership with the ride-hailing startup Lyft, purchase of Cruise Automation – an autonomous vehicle startup, and creation of an engineering team dedicated to autonomous driving.
Presently, there are 30 self-driving all-electric Chevrolet Bolt vehicles with GM. It is testing them on public roads in Scottsdale, Arizona and San Francisco.
Tesla and GM – what’s the difference?
There is a stark difference in Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk’s and Barra’s approach. Despite that both the CEOs have their focus on ensuring safety of riders and reducing traffic accidents and fatalities. The only difference is – they think differently about what is the best way to achieve those goals, notes Fortune.
Earlier this month, Tesla CEO said that the firm will equip all its vehicles with radar and cameras to make it possible for them to drive autonomously without any human intervention. Tesla Motors Inc will allow buyers to order ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ on purchase of all new cars. From the comments Musk made on the subject last year, it can be said that he does not think that it is a reckless move to roll-out such advanced self-driving capability, says Fortune.
On the other hand, Barra and other automakers are being more conservative. They are coming up with advanced driver assistance systems, but are also adhering to an on-demand self-driving car service that the drivers can use, but not own, notes Fortune.
“We feel we have the right system and we’re working with regulators,” Barra said, adding that they can easily scale up the production.