General Motors and Lyft plan to begin testing self-driving taxis within the year, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The autonomous fleet will be made up of Chevrolet Bolts and will hit public roads in a currently undisclosed city. Initially, the self-driving cars being dispatched will still have drivers in the cockpit who can grab the controls if necessary. Customers booking a ride on Lyft will be able to opt in or out of the pilot program from Lyft's app. Lyft has a prototype smartphone application that would show customers the option of being picked up by an autonomous car.
Cruise Automation wants to make self-driving cars in New York City a reality as soon as 2018. The self-driving car wing of General Motors has announced plans to test Chevy Bolts in an area of Manhattan spanning five square miles, beginning as early as next year. Previously, the company has evaluated how its vehicles perform in an urban setting by testing them out on the streets of San Francisco.
By Riki Ozawa / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterAutomated cars are classified into four levels based on how much the driver is involved in the operation of the accelerator, brakes and steering. The ranks range from Level 1 -- in which one of the operations is automated -- to Level 4 -- in which a car is fully autonomous and can operate without a human driver. Most domestic and overseas car manufacturers are at Level 2, with Tesla Motors Inc.'s Model S also in this category. Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and other major domestic carmakers have been putting work into the research and development process, aiming to market automated cars that can run on expressways by around 2020. The manufacturers are aiming to reach Level 3, in which a self-driving system mainly operates the car and the driver takes the necessary actions only in case of emergency, such as when the system malfunctions.
General Motors is still a car company, at least for now. "Our core business will be the core for a very very long time," CEO Mary Barra said today at the WIRED Business Conference in New York. That business is making personal vehicles that people drive and own, with a focus on trucks, SUVs, and middle America. But it's hardly exclusive, and in the past six months General Motors has made a series of bold, future-facing moves to cash in on what Barra calls "an accretive opportunity"--a chance to add some apple flesh around the steady core. The Detroit giant invested half-a-billion dollars in Lyft, with plans to build a fleet of self-driving cars.
CHICAGO – Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it is talking to Waymo, the autonomous driving unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., to try to strike a deal that would put its self-driving technology into some of the Japanese automaker's cars. Both companies stressed that at this point the talks are about research, rather than full-production vehicles. If all goes well, Honda may provide Waymo with vehicles that are modified to run the self-driving system, and those cars would join the existing Waymo fleet currently being tested in four U.S. cities. Discussions with Honda underscore that Waymo wants to develop the brains behind self-driving vehicle technology rather than build the cars that use it. The talks also show that Waymo, the new name of Google's self-driving car project, is eager to work with more car companies as it races to rack up test miles with its autonomous-drive systems and prepare it for commercialization.