More robot cars coming
BMW, GM and Volvo plan to remove driver error from roads
BMW, GM and Volvo last week unveiled the next phases of their plans to make cars that will drive themselves and even chat to the occupants.
With nine in 10 fatal crashes blamed on driver error, the manufacturers say they can prevent at least 80% of car crashes by simply not putting human drivers in control.
Following on its successful tests in the robot minibus Olli, IBM has announced a new collaboration with BMW to “explore the role of Watson cognitive computing in personalising the driving experience and creating more intuitive driver support systems for cars of the future”.
This means future BMW models will be able to “shoot the breeze” with the vehicle’s occupants, as Watson is already doing in the robot minibus Olli, which this year completed successful trials in several cities.
As part of the agreement, the BMW Group will collocate a team of researchers at IBM’s global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT) in Munich, Germany, and the companies will work together and explore how to improve intelligent assistant functions for drivers.
In the state of Michigan in the U.S., General Motors said it will begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads.
GM CEO and chairperson Mary Barra announced last week that GM will build the next generation of its autonomous vehicles at the Orion Township assembly plant in the first quarter of 2017.
The plant will produce the Chevrolet Bolt EV equipped with fully autonomous technology. It already produces the Bolt EV and the Chevrolet Sonic.
“Revolutionising transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality,” Barra said in a statement.
“Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.”
Michigan joined the states of Arizona and California, where Uber last week launched self-driving pilot in San Francisco with Volvo Cars.
Volvo partners Uber
Volvo said the move marks the next phase in a deepening alliance between Volvo and Uber after the two companies signed an agreement in August 2016 to establish a jointly-owned project to build base vehicles that can be used to develop fully autonomous driverless cars.
These cars were initially tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The latest cars to be used in San Francisco have been built by Volvo and sold to Uber, after which Uber’s own self-driving hardware and software package has been added, most visibly in the roof-mounted control apparatus.
“The promise of self-driving ride sharing is becoming a reality,” said Mårten Levenstam, vice president product planning at Volvo Cars. “Volvo is proud to be at the forefront of the latest developments in the automotive world alongside our partners.
GM CEO and chairperson Mary Barra announcing the company will build and test self-driving Bolts in the state of Michigan.