The heads of all the world’s big car companies say that the future of the industry lies with electronic vehicles (EVs) and driverless cars. Some of these organizations have made impressive strides with EVs. Self-driving cars are another matter. They do not have adequate systems that keep the cars from crashing. That will make them hard to market. The manufacturer with the most recent self-driving car trouble is General Motors.
The division within GM that handles its driverless car business has recalled the software used in some robotaxis. One of these had a crash this year that caused “minor injuries,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Depending on the breadth of the issue, this means that major accidents could be a potential problem.
GM has upgraded the software that was the problem. The company’s representative said, “We submitted this voluntary filing in the interest of transparency to the public; it pertains to a prior version of software and does not impact or change our current on-road operations.” The statement should not give consumers comfort.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has posted a report that says driverless cars were involved in almost 400 accidents in the year before the report was issued. That is an astonishing number, given how few of these vehicles are currently on the road. These accidents have involved cars from several companies, including Tesla and Alphabet’s Waymo.
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The driving public expects a degree of safety in the vehicles it drives. Driverless cars are a huge departure from the way Americans have driven cars for over a century. That makes adoption of new technology particularly difficult.
GM is among the world’s largest manufacturers. When there is news about a driverless car crash, it undermines the efforts of the entire industry.
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