"Problem: Drivers Are Buying Fewer GM Cars. Solution: GM Developing Driverless Cars."

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

You gotta love fark.com. Anyway, I've resisted the urge to blog this story because, frankly, who cares what GM's CEO thinks about driverless cars? While the media is all abuzz with Wagoner's forthcoming speech to the Consumer Electronic Show, is there anyone out there with even the slightest knowledge of GM's current technological chops who believes that the same automaker that's struggling to get their electric – gas hybrid Volt onto the streets before the next generation Prius arrives to kick its ass is about to launch a successful initiative to create the driverless car of tomorrow? Sure, we agree with the speech's basic premise– our spiritual advisor Stephan Wilkinson has convinced us that it's only a matter of time before humans are denied accelerative access (excess?). But comments like this (via foxbusiness.com) just make me laugh: "'This is not science fiction,' Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview" and ""Just imagine all the funerals that won't take place." Sorry guys, but I'm Jewish. I imagine non-existent funerals all the time, and they don't have driverless cars in the cortege.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Jan 07, 2008

    It will be many decades before you see fully autonomous cars on the roads. We already have fully autonomous airplanes with triple redundancies yet we still have 2 pilots sitting there baby sitting the controls to make sure the computer doesn't flub up. Would anyone trust GM to build a car like this when they can't even successfully build a reliable small car, Toyota maybe. I personally wouldn't want to be anywere near a driveless car GM produced, in the driver seat or within a mile of it on the road. I could seriously see the fatality rate going up. I would sure love to see all those people who don't want to drive being driven by their cars so I can ride my motorcycle without the fear of some old lady trying to run me off the road like what happened a few hours ago.

  • B-Rad B-Rad on Jan 07, 2008

    Kixstart, my brother may have been able to find a bus if he'd tried, but I should clarify. He hitched a ride up to Ohio with my Aunt (who drove down to visit us but lives up there) to visit some of our extended family and returned to Richmond by plane. He didn't fly into Norfolk because he was able to get a really cheap flight into Richmond. He figured he'd drive a car up to the airport on the way to Ohio and leave it so he could drive himself down on Sunday (yesterday). Because I enjoy driving, I offered to just go get him. Except for some slight difference in gas mileage, depending on what car he would have driven, I don't think I wasted any gas going to go get him. If his original plan did not include him driving back from the airport, I wouldn't have gone and gotten him.

  • Bill Wade Bill Wade on Jan 07, 2008
    # Frank Williams : January 7th, 2008 at 1:21 pm At least we know how they’ll move more Buicks once their last customer dies. Frank, you owe me a keyboard. Thanks for the laugh. --Bill.
  • Pitchfork Pitchfork on Jan 08, 2008

    I think driverless cars are a very interesting development. One of my favorite bloggers wrote this: "The killer app for this technology is old people, as anyone who has a relative who should not be driving anymore can tell you. However, it seems to me that this technology could change ordinary life at least as much as cellphones. Self-piloted vehicles remove labor from retail delivery. This would make more of a difference to small retailers than to large ones. Then there is this: the technology could mean the end of the city-as-parking-lot. There is no need to keep your vehicle curbside if it can look after itself while you are about your business. Actually, it could even mean the end of the privately own car. You could subscribe to a ubiquitous car service as you would to a phone service" This won't happen soon. But driverless cars could make our streets very different 2 or 3 decades from now.