GM execs are reportedly expecting that self-driving vehicles will be first commercially deployed in the US in 2019 — though, initially, just in dense urban environments. Robotaxis will be the primary application, as you’d expect.
To phrase that another way — the higher-ups at GM are expecting that whatever regulatory hurdles remain in the US to the large-scale deployment of self-driving taxis will be cleared by the end of 2019, roughly just 2 years from now.
As we reported recently, while discussing the state of GM’s (Cruise Automation’s) self-driving vehicle tech following a media demonstration in San Francisco, the tech isn’t quite there yet to allow for commercial deployment — so the holdups certainly aren’t just regulatory. Most of the major operators in the sector are expecting, though, that the remaining technological hurdles will be cleared within just the next few years.
“The company on Thursday added that it expects to reduce the cost of long-range lidar sensors to $300 from $20,000, but did not provide a clear timeline,” Reuters reports.
“In October, GM bought lidar sensor technology company Strobe Inc, saying the company’s technology could lower the cost of the key laser-based sensor on self-driving cars by 99%.”
LiDAR, notably, is being utilized in the self-driving vehicle systems of every major firm working in the sector … with the exception of Tesla — which has bet that the often very expensive sensors aren’t necessary for safe, fully autonomous capability.
LiDAR, for those unfamiliar with the term, is essentially a radar-like system utilizing light instead of sound. In other words, it involves relying on laser or light pulses being reflected off of objects to create a sort of 3-D map of the environment.
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