Mary T. Barra, the chief executive of General Motors, said the company is “on track” to roll out a ride-sharing service in 2019 that would rely on autonomous vehicles, a development that would advance the already-heated race to bring a self-driving car to market.
“We’re on track, with our rate of learning, to be able to do that next year,” Ms. Barra said at DealBook’s Playing for the Long Term conference. She added that the company had a strategy to show how its vehicles are safer than human drivers. The vehicles can currently run safely at speeds of up to about 30 miles per hour, and the service will be limited to a small geographical area, Ms. Barra said.
Limiting cars to 30 mph/48 km/h seems like a smart trick to limit the potential for injuries. I’m guessing there will also be safety drivers and/or remote operators, although that isn’t specified in the article.
Interesting tidbit on lidar range:
G.M. is focused on advancements to lidar, which will drive down costs and enable the vehicles to travel at higher speeds, she said.
One of the problems with most of the lidar units currently available — even some of the expensive ones — is that they are either low-range, low-resolution, or both.
At 113 km/h (70 mph), it takes 91.4 metres to physically stop while driving on wet asphalt or concrete, plus 31.4 metres for every second of reaction time. With a reaction time of 1.0 seconds, that’s 123 metres total to stop. So if your lidar’s range is 120 metres, that leaves you with very little margin for error in terms of reaction time.