General Motors’ Exec Credits Tesla, Google For Accelerating Autonomous-Drive Technology

1 year ago by Mark Kane 17

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot

Google Flagship Self-Driving Car

Google Flagship Self-Driving Car

Richard Holman, a 30-year automotive veteran running GM’s foresight and trends unit, said that Google (Alphabet) and Tesla Motors each deserve credit for accelerating the development of autonomous driving technologies in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

“Mr. Holman noted companies like GM and its rivals have been working on autonomous vehicles for several years, and said tech giant Google and electric-car maker Tesla deserve get credited for moving the industry along.”

Holman revealed that some three years ago, most industry participants expected 2035 as the reasonable timetable expectation for fully autonomous cars; which is the ability ‘to drive‘ without attention (or presence) of the driver.

Thanks to latest advancements but non traditional automakers, most people consider ~2020 to be the new soft target.

WSJ notes that it’s a rare happening when a Detroit auto executive appreciates input from the Silicon Valley.

“Mr. Holman noted many large auto makers take a more “cautious” view than tech companies—“we don’t want to make a mistake,” he said. “Silicon Valley’s participation in autonomous vehicle development “forced the issue.””

Two months ago Audi’s electromobility boss said about general Tesla approach ”I Hate To Admit It, But Tesla Did Everything Right”.

source: The Wall Street Journal

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17 responses to "General Motors’ Exec Credits Tesla, Google For Accelerating Autonomous-Drive Technology"

  1. Leptoquark says:

    I’m not sure I would give equal credit to Google and Tesla, it would be more like 20/80, since Tesla has actually put a product on the market in front of real drivers, as opposed to only making lab prototypes. But, it’s a wide open market, so the more the merrier!

    1. Stimpy says:

      I think crediting Google even 20% is wildly generous unless there is somewhere I can I go and get a car running Google autonomous software.

      If you’re going to credit Google for *unreleased products* then you’d have to credit every single car manufacturer and their major vendors simultaneously working on the same thing. Google just talks the most loudly about their vaporware.

  2. Anon says:

    I credit GM for intentionally ignoring / slowing down autonomous development, until others made it a marketing / sales issue.

    1. ffbj says:

      Yes, we should give credit where credit is due.

    2. 2013VOLT says:

      You could credit them the same for electric drive as well. Imagine if they had stuck with the EV1 and continued development.

  3. Marc Lee says:

    As a person who was recently hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle, I feel that automonous drive can’t come fast enough. Without question Tesla has pushed the time table forward on that, and battery/electric cars.

    1. David Stone says:

      I know what that feels like…

      Of course better infrastructure would be nice too, like bike lanes on the road for people would actually travel faster than 10 km/h and use theirs as commuter vehicles.

  4. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

    “WSJ notes that it’s a rare happening when a Detroit auto executive appreciates input from the Silicon Valley.”

    Its a rare happening when a Detroit auto executive appreciates input from anybody.

  5. Carcus says:

    Both autonomous drive and full electric each nearly turn the auto industry on its head.

    Left to its own, the ‘industry insiders’ probably would have perpetually stuck to a “20+ year timetable” (read never) expectation.

  6. georges says:

    7 comments?

    It amazes me how little interest there is in autonomous driving.

    1. carcus says:

      My guestimation–

      I don’t think most people grasp that they are NOT going to be doing their own driving anymore (or, most of it). At least not in a normal urban setting. And they will most likely not own their own car either.

      Maybe the typical 2 or 3 car household will retain one for the odd trip or vacation. But generally you’re just going to hail you’e autonomous uber/google/apple/lyft/etc.. car from your “PED” for the the bulk of your trips.

      If we see commercially viable autonomous vehicles in 2020 then I would guess by 2030 they will be more the norm than the exception.

      ….. maybe ..

      1. David Cary says:

        Agreed. People don’t realize how much of a game changer it is.

        Once they are available in a practical way, I suspect the conversion will be a lot faster than the EV conversion. I also expect it will accelerate the EV conversion.

        There are 4 truly game changing results:
        – traffic moves a lot faster in LA, SF, DC etc.
        – Elderly people can live on their own for many more years
        – Manhattan will have super clean air (ok this one is EVs but when taxis are all autonomous and EV…)
        – 30,000 people won’t die every year – most of these are young; 200,000 people won’t have severe injuries that have a huge society cost for the rest of their lives (I’m guessing this number)

    2. MJP462 says:

      I agree, but why? I can’t wait for autonomous cars! It seems like most people really don’t care too much though.

    3. Jacked Beanstalk says:

      Maybe it’s a possibility in the suburbs of sunny San Fransciso where the roads are well maintained and feature bright happy lines. But in most of the country, certainly here in MI, even 2035 seems rather optimistic.

      I’m also very skeptical of any system that isn’t full auto 100% of the time. Any requirement for a driver to suddenly take over driving after reading a tablet or napping will be flat-out dangerous.

      Finally, in the winter fully autonomous driving will likely be possible only on roads with implanted electronic markers. It sets up a conundrum because the same roads that would get such markers are also the roads most likely to be plowed. Thus the driver is saddled with driving only in the worst of conditions, a dubious safety proposition.

      This whole autonomous driving craze reminds me of the active suspension fad of the late 80s. It ultimately resulted in adjustable suspensions that can now adapt to road conditions, but a fully active suspension isn’t practical. Autonomous vehicles may suffer the same fate, ushering in a new era of augmented driving while never actually removing the driver from the equation except under highly controlled conditions like city driving.

  7. Bill Howland says:

    The fly in the ointment here, is that, at least in the states, only 15% of the public will accept a totally autonomous vehicle. This is actually DOWN 1/2 % from the same survey 2 years earlier.

    It sure doesn’t warrant the amount of money all car makers are spending on this – except of course the military wants this technology and the automakers are all getting gov’t grants to develop it.

    Of course, when this technology is perfected, you won’t be allowed to drive your own car – since the insurance rates would be driven sky high (and that will be the excuse for the rate increases).

    You will still be allowed to purchase the much more expensive car you can’t drive.

    But that’s all right – Since young people in general have difficulty finding good paying jobs in the states, (Wendy’s just making it more difficult by deciding to automate the checkout portion of their restaurants in view of the $15 NYC minimum wage), the next generation won’t be owning cars anyway – they can get a LYFT at a high fee, should they have to go someplace.

    Just imagine how many BEV’s and PHEV’s there would be if they put this money into these instead.

    1. Stan says:

      What people think they “want” currently isn’t remotely indicative of what will happen going forward. As Henry Ford noted, people likely “wanted” better horses nonetheless cars quickly sidelined buggy whip makers.

      1. Jacked Beanstalk says:

        It’s not a very apt analogy. People like to drive and they like to be in control. It’s part of why people are so fearful of air travel despite the far lower risk posed as compared to auto travel. In an airplane they are not in control.