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Cruise Automation: GM subsidiary presents "first autonomous serial car"

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 | Gadgets

In order for all readers to really believe it, Kyle Vogt has put it once again behind the headline: "How we built the first really self-running car (really)" is his article on the US platform Medium. The company boss and founder of the US start-up Cruise Automation describes how his company has developed several generations of self-propelled cars in recent years. The third generation, on the basis of an electric Chevrolet Bolt, will now be suitable for mass production.

    Cruise Automation wants to have developed a series-ready autonomous car. (Photo: Cruise Automation)
"This is not a concept study – it has airbags, crumple zones and comfortable seats – it is installed in an industrial production hall that can produce 100,000 vehicles a year, and we want to take this factory to a standstill," writes Vogt. The special feature of the vehicle is that the components already have all the necessary sensors and redundant systems that Cruise Automation considers necessary for autonomous driving.
Eye-catching laser scanner on the roof
The fact that this hardware does not make the Chevy Bolt more attractive is shown by the photos published by Vogt. A complex roof construction can be seen, including five rotator laser scanners. Further sensors such as cameras and radars are likely to be located in the roof structure as well as under the radiator grille. Various sensors are probably also present in the two large-sized exterior mirrors. Vogt does not provide information about the exact sensor equipment. Alone the five Lidare probably not make the car cheap. From the price and appearance it is therefore designed for commercial operators like taxidienste.

According to Vogt, Cruise has equipped the Chevy Bolt with a completely new and fault-tolerant system for electrics, communication and actuation for the third generation. According to Techcrunch, 40 percent of the components are new. The car now looks more like an airplane and has 4,085 cables and 1,066 plugs. Without careful assembly, the vehicles would therefore spend a lot of time in the workshop because of wobbly contacts and shattered cables.
Redundant systems required
The fact that autonomous vehicles need such redundant systems is little controversial in the industry. Thus, Audi equips its new A8 with an additional braking system if it has the Staupiloten. The manufacturers also think of steering the vehicle with one-sided brakes, for example, if the steering system fails. This technology has long been used in the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
Last but not least, the question is whether the cruise control car has the necessary software to drive safely and autonomously over motorways and cities. Videos published by the company show how their test cars safely navigate through San Francisco without human intervention. According to Techcrunch, Vogt, however, said that car can drive autonomously, "when the software is finished".
First assignment in San Francisco
General Motors' (GM) Vice President for Autonomous Driving, Doug Parks, also dampened the euphoria. There is still a lot to do until self-propelled cars can actually be driven on the streets without drivers. At the very least, the US House of Representatives has decided last week that it will allow manufacturers to launch up to 100,000 test cars in a few years on the basis of special regulations.
To date, GM has built 50 copies of the car at its factory in Lake Orion, Michigan. These will soon be available to San Francisco employees for Cruise Anywhere.


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