GM to double the size of its test fleets, says it’s ready to mass produce self-driving cars

October 05, 2017

Amidst the rapidly advancing battle among the tech companies and automotive giants regarding who among them would be the first to deploy self-driving cars on the road for everyday use, General Motor’s self-driving unit, Cruise Automation has emerged victorious, doubling the size of its test fleet of AVs in California.

Over last three months, the Cruise unit has increased the number of vehicles that are registered for testing to 100 from the previous 30 to 40 on the Californian streets – an accomplishment that will help the company display its AVs at the forefront of the deployment race. Sources reveal that currently GM is the only automaker that is capable of mass producing the self-driving vehicles, owing to Cruise’s contribution in quickly grasping what it takes to put driverless vehicles on the road.

Reportedly, GM Cruise’s autonomous vehicles were involved in six minor crashes in the state, however none of the GM AVs were held responsible. A spokeswoman for GM Cruise revealed that though automated vehicles were involved in six collisions, all the incidents were caused by other vehicles. The accidents did not result into any major injuries or serious damages, but they clearly demonstrated the limitations for the developers.

As reported by the California regulators in 2017, in filings, GM Cruise vehicles were caught up in 13 collisions, while Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo vehicles have been involved in three crashes. As per analysis, when a self-driving vehicle is put on road to train its artificial intelligence systems, it is more often encountered by human drivers who are not programmed to obey all traffic rules. Say, for instance, in one of the crashes, a driver was on his cellphone when he collided a Chevrolet Bolt that stopped at a red light.

With its move on doubling the size of its test fleet, GM has been aggressively working to put together the parts of the puzzle it needs to resolve when it comes to its self-driving Bolt. Looking forward to the time when autonomous vehicles would be more common place, GM’s AVs are expected to be ready much sooner than anticipated.

Shares of General Motors have soared to a post-IPO high and have risen 17% over last month as analysts projected the deployment of robotic taxis over a year or two.