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Monday
May282012

GM announces semi-autonomous self-driving cars to go on sale this decade

General Motors has announced it anticipates releasing a semi-autonomous self-driving car this decade. The American car manufacturers have reported that most of the requirements for semi-autonomous driving are already in place.

Modern safety features such as blind-spot recognition, lane-departure warnings and collision mitigation are already in place to equip a car with the potential to drive itself on motorways.

Nady Boules, director of electrical and controls integrated research at General Motors, said: "If you combine these elements and take each of them to an extreme, we could have a car that can’t crash and a car that can drive itself."

GM’s Cadillac division has a "Super Cruise" system on test, with its research vehicles built with automatic steering, braking and lane-centring on motorways under certain road conditions. It is claimed that this technology could be prepared for production vehicles in as few as three years’ time.

Mr Boules confirmed that full autonomy could well be possible with the ability to ease congestion on the roads, eliminate the need for traffic lights and reduce the number of accidents with these "crash-proof" vehicles. He revealed the adoption of a fully autonomous car is "further off" but that some progress would be made on that front throughout the decade.

How would you feel about scrapping your car for a model that could drive itself? While the idea sounds great in theory, many people struggle to adapt to change and the innovation of a self-driving car would certainly take a lot of getting used to. It would also require a lot of trust in the vehicles themselves as drivers put their safety in the hands of an autonomous system.

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