The world is in ruckus over the abrupt introduction of autonomous features such as the Tesla Autopilot, with new safety concerns arising all over the world.
While investing heavily into the sector, it appears General Motors CEO May Barra thinks the company might have a more relaxed pursuit of autonomous driving technology, saying it will “look at what technology is in the best interests of consumers.” General Motors was widely expected to introduce the Super Cruise semi-autonomous system on the new Cadillac CT6 next year, but Barra recently commented “We aren’t putting a specific date on it.” The group is also expected to deliver its first fully autonomous vehicle in the form of the Chevrolet Bolt electric car, modified to take part in Lyft’s ride-sharing programs – GM being a major investor in the latter.
Barra’s comments come at a threshold moment for such technologies – following the fatal accident of a Tesla Model S running the Autopilot system. The car’s path was crossed by a turning semi-trailer and the autonomous safeguards failed to ‘see’ the white trailer against a bright sky – and nor did the driver, 40-year old Joshua Brown, who most likely was distracted. GM’s Super Cruise would be able to eliminate this latter possibility, incorporating a retina scanner to monitor the driver’s attention patterns. The Autopilot only has a warning that while engaged the driver should remain in control – some safety advocates have even called it to be disabled until the technology is perfected, with the system currently only in a ‘beta’ testing phase.