GM, Google-Waymo to launch driverless cars for ride sharing in 2019

Rapid AI advances to result in fully automated driving in urban areas around 2020



The Cruise AV test vehicle, a driverless car that GM will launch for the ride sharing market in 2019 (Source: GM)

This is a comprehensive report on a lecture given at the tenth annual Automotive World Seminar held at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center from January 17 to 19, 2018 by Mr. Tsuguo Nobe, Director and Chief Advanced Service Architect of Intel's Business Development and Government Policy Group (and Associate Professor of Nagoya University) entitled "Automated Vehicles in Urban Areas" outlining the background, problems and prospects for the practical application of Level 4 autonomous vehicles in cities.

With the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) used in the development of automated vehicles over the past 2 or 3 years, the practical application of Level 4 autonomous driving in urban areas is expected to be realized around 2020. Around the same time, Level 3 autonomous driving on expressways is also expected to be introduced. According to Mr. Nobe, western OEMs are concentrating their efforts on achieving Level 4 autonomous driving in urban areas, skipping Level 3 due to the difficulties associated with switching from automated to manual operating modes.

New mobility services such as car sharing and ride sharing, and taking a passenger the last one mile from the nearest station to home or their final destination are expected to become a major market for driverless vehicles in urban areas.

GM announced that it will introduce driverless cars without steering wheels or pedals for the ride sharing market in several large cities in the U.S. in 2019 ahead of other automakers.

Google-Waymo plans to start commercial ride sharing services based on the success of its driverless car testing currently being conducted in Phoenix, Arizona. Google-Waymo is said to be at the forefront of autonomous driving technology ahead of the major OEMs.

In the U.S. Congress, a resolution to exclude driverless cars from the current FMVSS safety standard to allow public road testing of thousands of driverless cars was passed by the House of Representatives in September 2017 and is now being deliberated in the Senate.

Related reports:
Nissan: Connected strategy in the age of autonomous cars (Jan. 2018)
Autonomous driving verification testing progress in Japan(Jan. 2018)
BMW: Autonomous Driving and Connected Mobility for Intelligent Traffic (Aug. 2017)

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