Cars and Drivers

GM Tries to Get Back Into Self-Driving Cars After Major Failure

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The self-driving car business of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) seemed to have a permanent setback when one of its Cruise vehicles badly injured a woman in San Francisco last October 2. To make matters worse, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said Cruise covered up the incident by pulling its “driverless” permit. Tests might have continued if there had been a human in the self-driving car. By November 20, Cruise’s CEO Kyle Vogt was out. Not a company to give up, GM is trying to begin self-driving tests in Houston and Dallas, according to Bloomberg.

Cruise told Bloomberg, “Our goal is to relaunch in one city with manually driven vehicles and supervised testing as soon as possible once we have taken steps to rebuild trust with regulators and the public.” But is the public ready? Self-driving cars have a reputation as dangerous and not useful on roads without a great deal of traffic. On side roads, with cars or people suddenly cutting in front of Cruise cars, self-driving is not stable.

Autonomous vehicles, as self-driving cars are also known, are supposed to be the wave of the future. Perhaps even more so than electric vehicles are. At some point, perhaps years from now, people will be able to sit in cars and accomplish tasks without watching the road and worrying about dangerous, and suddenly dangerous, conditions.

Accidents have shaken public confidence in self-driving cars. Even if the new GM Cruise experiment in Texas works, the future of these vehicles may be difficult for years to come.

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