GM Foresight & Trends Unit Head Praises Tesla & Google

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The head of GM’s Foresight and Trends Unit, Richard Holman, was recently quoted as publicly stating the Tesla and Google were responsible for accelerating the development of autonomous driving technology.

The comments — made at a recent industry conference in Detroit — also included a prediction that autonomous vehicle technology would be deployed “across vehicles” by 2020 (possibly sooner).

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Holman noted (as quoted by the Wall Street Journal) that most of the established auto manufacturers are taking a very “cautious” approach to autonomous driving technologies. According to the GM executive, though, Tesla and Google have “forced the issue” — meaning that the established firms will have to move fast or get left behind. (A notable exception to this is Daimler/Mercedes, which has apparently been putting a lot of resources into the development of autonomous driving technology.)

Teslarati provides more:

Holman adds that GM has had its sights set on autonomous driving and have been working on developing the technology over the past several years, but Tesla and Google’s notable advancements in this area have helped move the industry along at a much faster pace.

…Holman’s comment represents a rare nod by GM to the influence Tesla and Silicon Valley has had on advancing an otherwise archaic automotive industry. GM recently announced that it has acquired a software company Cruise Automation that was dedicated to developing self-driving car technology. The Detroit automaker looks to Cruise’s “deep software talent and rapid development capability to further accelerate GM’s development of autonomous vehicle technology.”

The President of GM, Dan Ammann, commented at the time: “Fully autonomous vehicles can bring our customers enormous benefits in terms of greater convenience, lower cost, and improved safety for their daily mobility needs.”

It’s not entirely clear yet, though, what GM’s technology is capable of. Tesla and Google (and possibly Apple) may very well beat GM to market…. Or not.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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