• Jan 7, 2008
General Motors' CEO Rick Wagoner won't be making his keynote address at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show until Tuesday, but word is that a big talking point in his speech will be driverless cars. According to CNN Money/Autos, Wagoner is expected to reveal that GM will be testing driverless cars by 2015 and have cars on the road by 2018. What is meant by "on the road" remains to be seen, as buying a real production Tahoe with this technology within ten years seems like a stretch. Still, the success of the DARPA Grand Challenge these past three years in which driverless vehicles pilot themselves through a miles-long course shows that we do have the technology to take our hands off the wheel. GM played its own part in sponsoring the Carnegie Mellon team that has done well in each competition, including the most recent one in which the university's driverless Tahoe called the "Boss" won the whole thing. We've confirmed that CMU's Boss will be on stage with Wagoner as he gives his speech on Tuesday. Thanks to its association with Carnegie Mellon and the DARPA Grand Challenge competitions, GM is definitely on the forefront of developing driverless tech, but promising hands-free driving in ten years is a bold move. We'll just have to wait and see what the Ricker says when he takes the stage on Tuesday.

[Source: CNN Money/Autos]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Perfect - It completes the package - GM already has BUYERLESS-cars....
      • 7 Years Ago
      Seems like GM is focusing on a lot of pie in the sky announcements these days. Things they may or may not have in a few years. Personally I would not trust a computer driven Aveo. Where is GM's answer to Sync?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm sure Ford's Sync will eventually drive the car as well. Unfortunately that means the "blue screen of death" really will become the last thing you see before you die.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They've been building "soulless" cars for years. Just about got it perfected. Driverless is the obvious next step.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't have a problem with this technology as long as they make a separate interstate system for these driverless cars because there is no way I will allow my freedom to drive the Interstate system whenever I want, wherever I want without the assistance of some big brother utopian computer. This is autoblog, where are those with a passion for driving? Where is the concern from you guys about preserving our freedoms to drive ourselves if such a system is implemented?
      • 7 Years Ago
      From what I see daily on public roads we already have driverless vehicles running around.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hehehe... funny!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      When I was a teenager, which was over 40 years ago, GM said the same thing, predicting driver less cars, being guided by wires embedded in the streets. They said it would happen within a few years. Those years have come and gone, and I'm still driving my car via my own two hands and feet. I'll be a little over 70 in a decade, and I'll believe it when I see it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Karl, just because idle promises got the best of you 40 years ago doesn't mean this technology isn't around the corner. Between GPS, wireless data transfer, and laser/radar/ir recognition, the sky is the limit. DARPA has already proven that. One of the major auto companies needs to get behind the technology early, lay down some patents. It looks like GM may see the light at the end of the tunnel. Quite frankly, someone needs to realize that "good ol' fashioned" v8's and steel bodies aren't going to sell in the world market. I applaud them for being dynamic.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I worked in the designing process at GM and I am now retired. I don't recall GM saying they would have a driverless car in a couple of years. First of all, it doesn't make sense. The technology wasn't there and everyone knew it, but today it makes more sense.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well if you walk around Carnegie Mellon there are already driverless cars (with passengers holding full controls just in case) driving around all the time. Have been for 10 years.

      The technology is available but I don't think people want to give up control of thier vehicles. I don't even like cruise control.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A Cobalt that can drive itself. Yup, I'd trust that with my life. markf
      • 7 Years Ago
      Can't be any worse than most of the idiots on the roads right now!
      • 7 Years Ago
      The first customer will likely be the Federal Government and hopefully that means the Post Office as well as the millitary. This would be a tremendous benefit to the movement of freight (containers from the port at Long Beach to LA for instance). Another major push will be in public transportation for demand response (elderly and handicapped) and others who cannot drive, driverless taxis (much cheaper).

      New enterprises will include the home version of Fed-X to pick up the dry cleaning, the groceries and the other stuff we collect on all of those errands around town. Order on line and have it delivered inexpensively and within an hour or two.

      Combining trips on the fly in the network via computer opens endless possibilities for a significant reduction in congestion becuase after you have been dropped off for work that same car can be off making deliveries, and moving other people instead of sitting in your parking space collecting dust.

      This has everything to do with gaining freedom not losing it because you wont have to have the ownership hassle, and we can make the transportation system infinitely more efficient using the same infrastructure. If anything we will gain space instead of losing it to parking spaces, and as someone suggested, a "separate interstate system".

      If GM is off base at all it's to suggest that someone would want to "own" their driverless vehicle. I hope this is at my disposal when I'm too old to drive and that day isn't more than 25 yrs away.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Too bad autonomous vehicles won't be legal.
      Not going to happen.
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