Autonomous cars head for the Big Apple


As if Manhattan's streets aren't insane enough, General Motors is placing self-driving cars - Chevy Bolts - on its roads starting next year. They may soon be tested by the chaos of downtown Manhattan, where pedestrians, taxis, buses and bikes embark daily on an eternal quest to avoid impact.

The cars in NY would run at Level 4 autonomy, meaning a human passenger (for the most part) monitors the systems and the vehicle navigates.

I'd expect more major cities to become testing targets for Cruise as capacity and local regulators allow, then, since it seems like GM will aim to deploy and future consumer self-driving services in those areas first.

The Silicon Valley-based firm, which GM acquired in March 2016 for $1 billion, has also been testing its autonomous driving tech on roads in San Francisco, Arizona, and MI. The area is now being mapped via geo-fencing tools - and GM will be hiring people in the New York City area, says New York's Office of the Governor.

The company has tested more than 100 of the vehicles around the country, including in dense San Francisco, but New York's harsh weather and even harsher streets will "improve our software at a much faster rate", Vogt said.

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The mix of pedestrians, taxis, buses and cars on New York City streets actually make it a flawless testing ground for self-driving technology, Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt said.

While GM will be the first to conduct "sustained testing" of fully autonomous cars in New York, Audi of America performed New York state's first self-driving demo in June, according to the governor's office.

The Department of Motor Vehicles and State Police will work with Cruise and GM to ensure all testing meets relevant safety, vehicle and insurance requirements.

Cruise Automation introduced its third-gen automated vehicle. The Level 4 testing is just one step removed from complete autonomy. The move is the second of the month made by GM to advance the development of autonomous vehicles. As self-driving technology continues to evolve, lidar's accuracy will play a critical role in its deployment, GM noted.