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14 January 2018, 12:31 | Gordon Grant
How GM's Cruise AV works
Next year, General Motors Co. will no longer need an engineer in the front seat babysitting the robot brain that controls its self-driving Chevrolet Bolt. They also won't have an owner since GM will deploy its self-driving auto for ride-hailing, not personal use.
TechCrunch reported the Cruise AV is based on the Bolt electric vehicle platform and can even close the doors of passengers who don't.
The vehicle has five LiDARs (light detection and ranging), 16 cameras and 21 radars to see complex environments. The steering wheel and pedals will be gone, giving total control to the machine. The company has said the accidents weren't caused by any of the GM cars.
To get its cars on the public road there are many hurdles for GM to clear.
Other believe that a vehicle without human control is a "bad idea".
"Our Cruise AV has the potential to provide a level of safety far beyond the capabilities of humans", the company said in the report. The automaker has been on a buying spree, acquired LIDAR startup Strobe and Cruise to help it become a "full-stack" autonomous vehicle company.
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Tentative plans call for such a vehicle to be used in the company's first commercial ridesharing fleet - with the aim being for a launch of such services sometime in 2019.
Instead of a steering wheel, the dashboard has a solitary touchscreen at the center that is surrounded by mostly blank surfaces. The move is a bold one, however, since all self-driving cars to date have had the safety features that enable the driver to take back control should an incident arise. But Waymo's self-driving fleet still has controls.
Of course, the current regulations aren't quite at the same point that driverless vehicle technology is. Pending government approval, GM intends to release its completely self-driving Cruise AV to the market in 2019.
A customer having an emergency may end the ride at any point by making a stop request, and the vehicle will pull to the side of the road at the next available safe place.
Inside the Cruise AV, there are touchscreen tablets that display vehicle information, route details and maps, among others.
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