General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) new 2018 Chevy Bolt made its media debut on Tuesday as it toured the streets of San Francisco, but this wasn’t exactly the smooth ride that everyone was expecting. While the vehicle proved it was capable of self-driving, it reacted more conservatively than a human driver would and this came with some frustrations.
Granted the streets of San Francisco are a lot more complex than a country road, but this is why they were chosen for the challenge.
During a roughly 15-minute ride in a busy area of San Francisco over a 2.2 mile (3.5km) trip, the Cruise-enhanced electric Bolt carrying a Reuters journalist encountered 117 people, 4 bikes and 129 cars, according to the car’s sensors.
The car, never moving more than 20 miles per hour, navigated urban traffic, a tram line, construction zones, pedestrians crossing streets and many double-parked vehicles. Urban environments are as much as 46 times more complex than suburban areas, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said.
Although the car navigated the streets in a conservative manner, and it seemingly passed the test, but as mentioned, there were still some frustrations.
CNBC’s Phil LeBeau also took a ride in the Chevy Bolt and had a similar experience:
Was it a smooth ride? No. More than once the Bolt stopped or paused due to another vehicle in the area or a construction worker walking in the street while working on a project nearby. If you or I were driving the car in those same situations we would likely have slowed down or steered to the side of the lane in a less herky-jerky fashion.
That was the clearest indication GM’s self-driving cars and the technology in them still need refinement before they are ready for the public. It’s a point GM executives readily admit.
Shares of GM were last seen down about 2% at $44.01, with a consensus analyst price target of $46.88 and a 52-week range of $31.92 to $46.76.