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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
General Motors will build autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars in the Detroit area Orion plant starting early next year, GM CEO Mary Barra announced Thursday. The announcement comes just days after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a package of bills legalizing the operation of autonomous vehicles in the hope of restoring the state’s image as an center of automotive innovation.

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"We expect that GM will become the first high-volume auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles in a mass-production assembly plant," Barra said in a speech at GM's headquarters.

GM has been testing a fleet of more than 40 autonomous Bolt EVs in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona. Barra said GM already has been testing autonomous Bolt EVs at its Warren Tech Center campus. “And within the next several months, we will expand testing to Metro Detroit.” she said. They plan testing under winter conditions, something we seem to have a lot of this year in the midwest.

Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer of global electric and autonomous vehicles, said bodies for the autonomous Bolt EV are already in the Orion Assembly plant.

Doug Parks, GM’s vice president of autonomous technology and vehicle execution, on Thursday declined to say when those vehicles would be ready to deploy for ride-sharing.

Technology will include light-sensitive radar (LIDAR), laser sensors and cameras. I guess those roof rails on Premier trim will be needed as will all the safety options, plus a new Autonomous "Devil Horns" option?

http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/15/technology/general-motors-autonomous-bolt/

Video here: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/general-motors/2016/12/15/general-motors-bolt/95477922/

Tesla fans will not like this claim I suspect.
 

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LIDAR isn't a "light-sensitive radar". LIDAR means LIght Distancing and Ranging. It works like SONAR but with light waves at a specific frequency. The system shoots short beams of light and calculates distances by the time difference of the reflection (between wave peaks of the fixed frequency). This method is how the physicists measure the speed of light but doing the opposite: using the time difference of the reflected beam across a fixed and acurately measured distance.

It is accurate to inches and can be even more precise but it needs higher frequencies and more processing power to increase accuracy to fractions of an inch. Then the system must rotate and scan at high speeds in all three dimensions to build a "virtual space map" of all the measured points (coming in at millions per second!). Finally, it needs powerful computing systems to analyze all these points and determine what is changing (movement). Then the navigation system uses that information to determine what is seen moving at the vehicle speed, and what is moving differently. An analogy is a low resolution sight system but with real distance information. Human eyesight has a higher resolution but needs two eyes and the brain to calculate and determine distances.

You can buy a small LIDAR and experiment with it, because LIDAR units are now cheaper and smaller (less tha $500 each) , and can be managed by a simple Linux based system (Windows isn't fast enough). So if you have seen these rotating devices on Uber and other autonomous vehicles, GM probably has a unit that fits in a small package on the Bolt EV roof that can do the same job. In the future, LIDAR units can be small enough to hide in body parts, like headlights and tail-lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
LIDAR isn't a "light-sensitive radar". LIDAR means LIght Distancing and Ranging.
Sure. I wasn't saying that's what the acronym stood for. I was pointing out that it uses light rather than radio waves like other radar. Now you can reply about how light and radio waves are part of a continuum, Raymondjram. :)

GM probably has a unit that fits in a small package on the Bolt EV roof,
If they do it would be good news, but the units they are testing are sizable twin tower contraptions.
 

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IIRC, the whole lidar name was just 'light based RADAR' slang. Even then, it doesn't use 'white light' technology, it uses LASER.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think the big news here is how fast GM seems to be moving, seemingly from zero to LIDAR LIGHT speed in a short time frame.

The last time they had 40+ Chevy Bolt mules on the road was about a year ago. Will history repeat itself?
Should we expect self driving Bolt EV's in an owner's uh, "hands" (butts?) this time next year?
Will they only be available to ride share fleets or will any car buyer be able to be a passenger in their car?
How does this fit with GM's lack of ACC for the Bolt EV?
How well will they work on rural roads?
Does this mean a self driving Bolt EV will be out before a Model 3 rolls off the assembly line? That would be news.

Lot of questions for the next year or so. Barra did say some time ago that the tech is progressing a lot faster than most realize. Today's announcement backs that up. I guess she had something up her black leather jacket sleeve when she said that some month ago. :)
 

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Yes pretty interesting. Lots of qualifiers in the "first" claim. Sort of like telling your kid -- "you're the best in the whole world with the name of 'Jim' who lives in our house". Tesla would no doubt point out that their cars are actually in the hands of customers and are not test vehicles. That may be good or bad, depending on your point of view. LOL

The CT6 will supposedly use LIDAR (not available in the Voltec hybrid version). Should be interesting to see how that is packaged.
 

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Very interesting indeed...These appear to be non-production models with equipment mounted on the roof so folks don't get confused and think they can buy one for the time being; in fact odds are there won't be a fully autonomous production Gen1 Bolt EV at all (doubtful many automakers would in that time-frame either)...It would make far more sense to add the equipment into the Gen2 Bolt EV...
But this does pose the question, how far along is GM with autonomous anyways? Apparently the Uber cars, Fusions in Pittsburgh, Volvos in San Fran are both not very autonomous where both have been caught breaking the law and it's repeatedly reported that the human drivers frequently need to take over multiple times even during short trip...
 

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Should we expect self driving Bolt EV's in an owner's uh, "hands" (butts?) this time next year?
Nope. I'm pretty sure you'll only see this technology being trialed in applications such as taxis and ride shares for at least a few years as the kinks get worked out and the manufacturers figure out what minimum level of sensors (i.e., cost) they can get away with.

Unlike Tesla, there seems to some signs of a consensus among most other car manufacturers that autonomy shouldn't be introduced until the car can be relied on to do everything by itself. The well-publicized Tesla accidents point to the inevitable problem of relieving a human of the drudgery of driving, yet expecting him to remain alert enough to his surroundings that he can take control back when the car can't cope. It's kind of like providing a security guard with a nice comfy mattress to relax on until he's needed.
 

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Yes pretty interesting. Lots of qualifiers in the "first" claim. Sort of like telling your kid -- "you're the best in the whole world with the name of 'Jim' who lives in our house". Tesla would no doubt point out that their cars are actually in the hands of customers and are not test vehicles. That may be good or bad, depending on your point of view. LOL

The CT6 will supposedly use LIDAR (not available in the Voltec hybrid version). Should be interesting to see how that is packaged.
Yes. The question is not "are they building them", we know that there are a bunch of companies testing autonomy and have been working on it for years. The question is when and how will it be delivered in a useful way.

Unless there's Level 5 autonomy, it's advanced driver assistance. And while advanced driver assistance will have significant benefits, it's not really disruptive. Disruption will only come when the driver is eliminated entirely.
 

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I think that press conference was just to thank and acknowledge the State of Michigan for allowing autonomous testing. Nowhere near what a product announcement entails.

I guess I missed the conference about the California and Arizona programs in June. I knew they were already testing, but did not know it was on public roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So even if they did sell the HAL version to individuals, you still need to be in a state that allows autonomous cars.

Sixteen states introduced legislation related to autonomous vehicles in 2015, up from 12 states in 2014, nine states and D.C. in 2013, and six states in 2012.

http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/autonomous-vehicles-legislation.aspx

NHTSA is clear in its guidance that states retain their traditional responsibilities for vehicle licensing and registration, traffic laws and enforcement, and motor vehicle insurance and liability regimes and that the model state policy include.

Illinois H 3136 Passed House. In Senate. Pending in Senate Committee on Assignments.
"Creates the Automated Motor Vehicle Study and Report Act; provides that the Secretary of State shall conduct a study on the feasibility of the operation of automated motor vehicles in the state and produce a report on its findings; requires the secretary to submit the report and recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly on or before a certain date; defines automated motor vehicle."

So HAL might get stopped at the border and refuse to roll down it's window :-0
 

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Supercruise is the big unknown. I read it was delayed due to NHTSA questions because it will pull over and stop if a driver is not responsive.

All Mary said was 2017, no season specified.

This will be the first big semi-autonomous system released by GM, but it's capabilities are not clearly defined yet.
 

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Supercruise is the big unknown. I read it was delayed due to NHTSA questions because it will pull over and stop if a driver is not responsive.

All Mary said was 2017, no season specified.

This will be the first big semi-autonomous system released by GM, but it's capabilities are not clearly defined yet.
But GM acquired Cruise Automation for $1B in mid March 2016; $1B is a pretty good indicator that GM was not happy with the progress of super-cruise...
 

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But GM acquired Cruise Automation for $1B in mid March 2016; $1B is a pretty good indicator that GM was not happy with the progress of super-cruise...
Supercruise development started before 2013 and some of the first mules were Volts.
http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2013/Apr/0429-cadillac-super-cruise.html

You've already seen some of the tech from the Supercruise project.

Cruise Automation is using the Bolt as their platform with the goal of complete automation.
 

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Correct yet it was still delayed; if the true reason was "it will pull over and stop if a driver is not responsive" why not, you know, disable that feature? There are many reports of people driving autopilot equipped Tesla's with autopilot turned OFF and autopilot overriding the human driver to perform a maneuver to avoid an accident...Technically that's the function of any vehicle with auto emergency braking...Yet there's a case in Missouri that a Tesla driver had a medical condition and the car drove itself to the hospital http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tesla-drives-man-to-hospital_us_57a8aee8e4b0b770b1a38886
 
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