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Chevrolet EN-V urban mobility concept  (Source:
GM will use technologies including GPS, distance-sensing, and vehicle-to-vehicle communications in the Chevrolet EN-V urban mobility concept

When many think of the future, they think of flying cars zooming from place to place. While we're not quite there yet, the development of self-piloted vehicles are in the making, and General Motors plans to deploy such vehicles by the end of the decade.

GM has announced that it is currently working on the tools needed to create self-piloted cars, such as radars, sensors, cameras, GPS, and other portable communication devices. These technologies combined will allow vehicles to navigate the roads partially on their own by the middle of the decade, and by the end of the decade, more advanced functions are expected to allow autos to drive themselves completely.

Two important aspects of the self-driving vehicle are vehicle-to-vehicle communication and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. This allows the car to learn more about vehicles around it, such as their speeds and locations, as well as surrounding traffic signals, accidents and detours.

GM will use technologies including GPS, distance-sensing, and vehicle-to-vehicle communications in the Chevrolet EN-V urban mobility concept. This system will allow the vehicle to dodge collisions, identify pedestrians, park itself, and pick-up the driver. All of this can be accomplished via systems placed in the vehicle or through a smartphone app.

"The technologies we're developing will provide an added convenience by partially or even completely taking over the driving duties," said Alan Taub, GM Vice President of Global Research and Development. "The primary goal, though, is safety. Future generation safety systems will eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they're even aware of a hazardous situation. In the coming years, we believe the industry will experience a dramatic leap in activity safety systems, and hopefully, a dramatic decline in injuries and fatalities on our roadways. GM has made a commitment to be at the forefront of this development."

The Chevrolet EN-V urban mobility concept will be on display at the ITS World Congress this week.

A few years back, the fully autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe was the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge winner. Other companies, such as Google, have announced the development of self-driving vehicles as well.

Source: Green Car Congress

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Reminds me of I, Robot
By Schrag4 on 10/17/2011 11:23:14 AM , Rating: 2
So, in theory, when an accident is inevitable, this thing will kick in and decide where you're going to crash. I'm not sure I like that. I mean, what if it decides that the safest thing for you is to run over a little kid instead of plowing head-first into a utility pole? I, for one, would appreciate the choice.

Oh, and I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I realize this technology, if mature enough, could greatly reduce accidents and fatalities. blah blah blah

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By Netscorer on 10/17/2011 11:43:41 AM , Rating: 2
When presented in the situation like you described, most of the time drivers don't really have a choice. The time to react and make an intelligent decision is just too long. So most of time you will either react based on your instincts or (for some people) would get in stupor. Even when you react, there are too many dependencies. How your motor skills function, what is your driving skill and knowledge of the car that you are driving, what are the conditions on the road, what other drivers around you are doing, etc.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By sorry dog on 10/17/2011 12:35:13 PM , Rating: 3
The problem I see is in how cautious to program the auto driver. It doesn't know if the other driver is actually in control or not and it might take unnecessary action...i.e. slam on brakes to avoid oncoming car going fast around a curve and then human driver behind computer driven car runs into it. If it had been grandma driving she would have reacted slower and then no rear end would have happened.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By Dr of crap on 10/17/2011 1:00:09 PM , Rating: 2
All I can say is I hope this takes the stupid driver out of the equation and make for a less stressfull ride to and from work. I see everyday multiple "stupid things" done by drivers and it can add to congestion and travel time.

This morning we all came to a stop several times on the freeway. Why? Because there was a stalled car pulled over to the far left shoulder with a highway patrol with it's lights on behind it. Why we needed to slow, stop and guack for that I don't understand. And I hope this will allow us to go past these kind of things as if nothing is wrong!

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By Reclaimer77 on 10/17/2011 1:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry but I prefer to drive my own car. We've pretty much taken the human equation out of everything in our modern lifestyle today, but I draw the line at having my car drive me around. I think lots of people turning a wheel and pressing a pedal is their daily 'workout' lol.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 1:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree with you IF there were not crazy drivers out there. People that speed much faster then traffic or slower then traffic, people weave in and out of traffic at unsafe distances, people that drive along the shoulder because they don't want to wait in traffic like everyone else. If people were actually reasonable drivers then I would agree with letting the person stay in control. But time and time again people show that they are not fit to drive and should be driven around.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By maven81 on 10/17/2011 2:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the crazy pedestrians though. They do mention this car has radar for that, but I wonder how well it would actually work. Since we're talking about urban driving, this is a constant problem in NYC where people often cross the road on a red light, right in front of your car.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 2:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for catching me on that. It does bug me when people walk in the middle of the road. I'm from a more rural area so instead of walking on the grass on the side of the road or right on the edge they walk directly in the middle of the lane.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By maven81 on 10/17/2011 2:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
Come to think of it, there's a whole slew of unknowns this system would have to deal with.

-Roadwork/Detours (there have been many instances when the GPS has told me to take a certain route and I discovered that it was blocked, with the detours controlled by the police (they may ask you to drive on the opposite side of the road as they halt oncoming traffic for example.

-officers routing traffic by hand (just yesterday I was asked by one cop directing traffic to drive through a red light for example).

-Road damage/potholes (this is something you can see visually, but I doubt would get picked up by a radar unless it's constantly evaluating the flatness of the surface

And those are just the things that come to mind after yesterday's commute! You're talking some serious AI + Machine Vision to figure this out.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 2:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure there would be a manual override so you could control your car if something like what you said would happen. Just an example but think of I, Robot the cars in that movie drive people around but Will Smith was still able to do a manual override to drive it himself. I don't think they are saying we are going from driver to no driver instantly it would have to be something that gradually changed overtime as infrastructure was put in place.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By Reclaimer77 on 10/17/2011 2:55:37 PM , Rating: 3
I would agree with you IF there were not crazy drivers out there.

That's never going to change. We can't take the "crazy" out of humanity.

And you know, not to get personal, but I notice on the Internet everyone ELSE is a "crazy" driver. Are you going to tell me you've never done any of those things yourself? I'm just saying, let's not get too high and mighty here.

But time and time again people show that they are not fit to drive and should be driven around.

Okay I'm sorry but if someone is THAT bad of a driver their license will get revoked or suspended from all the tickets. You don't get "time and time again" these days. Accident's are going to happen. Simply saying "wrecks happen, make cars drive themselves" is a poor argument with poor supporting evidence.

You make it sound like it's Beyond the Thunderdome out there. Serious and fatal accident statistics have been on the decline.

I know it's human nature that one negative experience stands out over thousands of good ones, and you seem to be suffering from this. The huge majority of drivers out there are responsible and law-abiding. You see a few bad apples and are flipping out cause that stands out in memory. That's all.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 3:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
Have you driven in Maryland recently? I actually see more bad driving then good driving. Now I am not saying I am perfect when it comes to driving. But I don't drive above the speed limit unless that is what traffic is dictating at the time. I drive with the flow. Also just because I like to see the technological advances we as humans are making doesn't mean I want it implemented. I doubt this kind of stuff will get implemented on a nation wide basis for many many decades. Would it be cool to live a world where your car drives you around and interacts with the infrastructure t help greatly reduce accidents. I like the technological side of it not the political stuff that a lot of DT readers put into it.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By Spuke on 10/17/2011 11:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
So everyone driving above the speed limit is a bad driver? I've driven in MD, I'm from PA. They drive no worse/better than any other place in the US, IMO.

What I consider a "good driver":
1. Courteous

IMO, courteousness is the basis for good driving habits.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By callmeroy on 10/19/2011 1:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
I drive through city traffic to get to work and to get home.

The biggest bad habits I see daily:

1) Instant lane changers...driving along driving along....boom guy who was next to you is now instantly in front of you, there's only a 1 in 10 chance he even flashes the turn signal for that whole .08th of a second as well.

2) Impatient people....there's lots of "lines" that form around here at certain intersections due to how populated the area is. Lots of people are apparently special and they don't have to wait in lines like everyone else....

I see this everyday, in fact in a couple hours on my way home I bet I'll see it again. Pisses me off not just for the potential to cause an accident but hey if I had to wait in this long ass line for 20-30 minutes before i got to the line...WTF gives you the right to zoom ahead and illegally make the turn in front of everyone else?

3) The third most common bad driving habit are people that can't make up their mind -- either what lane they are in or where the hell they are going.

You know the constant lane changers , I mean I change lanes too...but there are people that I see daily can't stay in a lane for more than 30-60 seconds before they change. Why does this bug me...well in rush hour traffic these chronic lane changers slow everything down even more.

The other thing that drives me nuts are people that truly look lost...just about turning onto a ramp...oops no -- let's quick swirve back onto the lets drive super slow for the next 5 exits to make sure we pick the right one.....oh crap I want to be in that other lane...

Drives me nuts.

Especially today...GPS maps...PLAN AHEAD!

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By cruisin3style on 10/17/2011 2:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
i'd like to be able to be driven around sometimes, or have a computer take over for stop & go traffic jams on the highway at least, but yeah i'm with you on this.

I mean the worst part about this is that with interconnected systems like my car communicating with "infrastructure", what is to stop the police from getting alerts when people are driving too fast?

I drive at my own pace ;)

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 2:44:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well if the car is driving for you there would be driving too fast. Your car would be told the speed limit from the infrastructure and then would obey that limit.

RE: Reminds me of I, Robot
By Schrag4 on 10/17/2011 1:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose the vehicle could be aware of which other vehicles around it are also auto-driven. If grandma's controlling her vehicle behind you, it would know a human was involved and slow to cushion the blow(s) instead of teeing you up for a huge smash from behind. If it knew the car behind you was auto-driven as well, they would communicate and both slow down. How fast they slow down would depend on whether the car behind THAT one (2 cars back) was auto-driven as well. And so on...

No Subject
By letflow on 10/17/2011 11:11:54 AM , Rating: 3
Google has actually tested autonomous cars of their own with the experience of millions of miles and the only crash was a rear-end collision that was the fault of another driver. They also attempted to allow these cars within law in Nevada.

GM is really late into the game...

RE: No Subject
By Netscorer on 10/17/2011 11:36:58 AM , Rating: 3
Google said at the time that the technology to fully automate car driving experience (i.e. no driver) already exists and the biggest challenge lies in legal issues, i.e. what happens when robo-car is involved in the accident. Even in the tests that Google did in and around San-Fransisco, there was always a driver present at all times to be able to override car, if needed.
Overcoming legal concerns may take a very long time and this will effectively slow the adoption rates. Knowing how the jurisdiction works in U.S. I highly doubt we will see much of anything beyond what is available today by the end of decade.
Another obstacle to introduction of this technology is reliance on infrastructure upgrades. Dependency on vehicle to vehicle communication as well as vehicle to road will be costly to implement and will only work in limited setting, i.e. in HOV lanes at first, where only cars that have embedded chip would be able to get in.
Google solution overcame this by utilizing multiple cameras and powerful computer with image recognition technology but it is very costly at the moment and has some limitations depending on weather and lighting conditions.

RE: No Subject
By TSS on 10/17/2011 2:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's been actually used here in holland. We had fully automated, no driver busses on a limited pre-programmed track a few years back.

Things crashed and where taken off the roads after a week. One bus couldn't go forward at a bridge so started backing up and another robobus crashed into the back of it, even though it shouldn't have happened with all the collision protections. These where low speed busses too (nobody got hurt).

It made quite obvious that even though the technology may exist in theory, the technology doesn't always adhere to that theory. To prove this point i would like to see any google automated car get through from one side of new york city to the other without accidents. Lets see what the CPU does when humans ignore the rules they themselves put in.

It'll be atleast another 30 years untill we have automated vehicles on the road that'll crash equally or less often then humans do. Atleast another 50 untill we can start talking more automated vehicles then manual ones. And that's just the technology. Legally, it might take another 100 years before people can accept that a car crashed and they lost their loved one and it's *nobody's* fault.

RE: No Subject
By ClownPuncher on 10/17/2011 3:21:29 PM , Rating: 2
That's because you guys legalized robot weed.

RE: No Subject
By Reclaimer77 on 10/17/2011 3:45:44 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah this kind of thing makes sense for public transportation. I mean, what's the point of owning and maintain a personal vehicle that you don't drive yourself? Makes no sense to me. You might as well be riding a bus at that point.

But like you pointed out, it would take a colossal advancement in AI to have fully functioning, safe, and reliable auto-drive systems in vehicles.

Computer Error
By mjrpes3 on 10/17/2011 4:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
This brings up the interesting question of how much computer error (that leads to a crash) society would be willing to tolerate before accepting this technology. Everyone thinks they're a better than average driver, so the fact that you could get in an accident that you could have avoid on your own sets a high barrier.

What if it was 1 computer error per every 2 human errors? You'd save 15,000 lives a year, but the computer caused accidents would get major headlines and there would be backlash. And lawsuits. I don't think this would be good enough.

What if it was 1 in 100, or 10,000? What if the technology was so good that statistically only one person dies from a computer caused accident each year? The threshold is somewhere there; I think around 1 in 1000. Just a handful of accidents would be tolerated.

RE: Computer Error
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 4:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'd agree which is why technological we might be allowed to do this in a couple decades but legally we would could be limited for a century

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