By on January 5, 2016


Existing cameras on General Motors cars could help the automaker draw detailed maps for future self-driving cars, the automaker announced Tuesday.

GM said the technology, which it’s developing with Mobileye and will be called “Road Experience Management,” would use existing cameras and OnStar systems to upload “crowd-sourced” maps to the automaker to support future autonomous driving.

“GM is committed to bringing semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles to our customers, and this technology will be a critical enabler to getting us there,” Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, said in a statement. “We are planning to explore the integration of REM into existing GM program launches sometime later this year.”

But I don’t even like bagging my own groceries.

According to the automaker, Mobileye’s sensors can create real-time “high-definition” lane data and landmark recognition information at roughly 10 KB per kilometer. That’s uploaded through OnStar to draw detailed, continuously updated maps.

Autonopods will use that information later to determine just where in the hell to take you while you’re watching Netflix and not paying attention to where you’re being driven.

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36 Comments on “So Wait, We’re All Working for General Motors Now?...”

  • avatar

    GM figured out how to get for free what Google spent all that money to capture sending dorky camera cars all over the world to capture. Smart move, although I bet GM wishes they had figured this out several years ago.

  • avatar

    The Google cars have 360 Degree high resolution cameras. I’m not sure how helpful the data captured from GM’s front mounted smartphone-grade camera is.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed. This all sound to me as GM trying to look all cool and trendy, while in reality they know they’ll have the hardest time trying to come up with their own data for autonomous cars.

  • avatar

    What do they mean by existing cameras? Is this ‘data’ already being collected, or does it start when cars are equipped with Road Experience Management?

  • avatar

    I got something to show their existing cameras. Actually, you could show them all KINDS of fun stuff!

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who sees potential privacy issues here? Since it’s about refining maps, the tech could easily be used to track movements, more easily than police (and private sector) license plate readers.

    • 0 avatar

      Why would anybody want to track you?

      We all will continue to have blissful privacy by virtue of being unimportant. It’s not worth anyone’s while to track us.

      Commence feeling relieved.

      • 0 avatar

        Cars are now turning in their owners:

        “(A) Florida woman was arrested in a hit-and-run incident, according to local media. The woman, Cathy Burnstein, fled the scene after she allegedly rear-ended Anna Preston, who was taken to the hospital with back injuries. Shortly after Preston reported the accident to the police, a local 911 operator received an automated call from Burnstein’s Ford Focus’ crash-notification system. Burnstein continually denied being in an accident, but the dispatcher wasn’t buying it.”

        That’s just one example — you can find plenty of stories like that.

      • 0 avatar

        RH, people make the mistake of thinking that it’s Big Brother who is going to misuse ubiquitous data collection, but it’s more likely that it’s Little Brother that you need to be worried about. How about your ex, your nosy neighbor, your boss, or your insurance company? It’s very hard to truly limit access to the data to just those parties with a legitimate need, and it’s those smaller players who have an interest in spying on you.

        I’m sure that GM will insist that the data collected is anonymised, but they will be sorely tempted to connect it to some sort of profile in order to sell it to third parties.

    • 0 avatar
      its me Dave

      A look at the upper right corner of my browser has uBlock showing 16 and Privacy Badger showing 17 tracking cookies and scripts now running on my browser thanks to I mean, after everything Snowden leaked, you’re just now seeing “potential” privacy issues?

  • avatar

    Ghostery is showing 18 trackers right now.

  • avatar

    So, they finally found people to work (slightly) cheaper than the workers assembling our Buicks in China. Good work GM!

  • avatar

    Ask yourself if you’d like to have your car guided by data gathered from OnStar cameras. If this isn’t a press release dreamed up by some GM flack after a bong break then GM may look back on the ignition switch debacle as the Good Old Days.

  • avatar

    You know the cool real time traffic indications on Google maps? How much do you want to bet that Google problem does this trick by extracting information from Android cell phones’ GPS receivers?

  • avatar

    We are all carrying highly capable sensors in our pockets and driving increasingly sensor loaded vehicles. It used to be hard was to get a network of cameras and sensors out in all the places you would need them for mapping, traffic management and autonomous driving. Now gathering the needed information is becoming a side effect of devices and software which are being scattered everywhere.

    The future is actually pretty cool if you stop freaking out.

  • avatar

    Really? We are all working for GM now? Well, finally, it’s about time! Always has been my aspiration…

    • 0 avatar

      Almost 10 years ago stories were floating out of Detroit about GM and something called the “Jobs Bank.” Supposedly workers were being paid up to $100,000 per year to do… Nothing at all. Read newspapers and play cards all day. Now that we’re all working for GM maybe we can all get in on THAT program.

      • 0 avatar

        Ha ha! I will be in just over a year from now – I’ll be retired!

        You’re correct about the jobs bank. Old-time GM employees didn’t call GM “Generous Motors” for nothing, and I sure wish I could have gotten in the industry back then.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Cool. So long as I am now an employee I’d like to be transferred to the jobs bank.

  • avatar
    its me Dave

    Guessing the car guys here never realized they’ve been working for Google all these years.

  • avatar

    It’s like Web 2.0 but for the car world.

  • avatar

    So if I had a GM and sold it could I collect unemployment?

    I would want a return fee for doing the work for them. Then again, I am one of those that ask the dealer for an advertising fee or remove the sticker from the car.

  • avatar

    “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

    “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.

    “Big Brother is Watching You.”

    “Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

    “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

    – George Orwell

  • avatar

    So I get an employee discount on my new champagne silver metallic 2.0T Malibu? Family First!

  • avatar

    Of course, this raises one question: Why did they wait so long? Yes, Google has been doing it for a while. The US Army has been doing it for a while. Even Tesla has been doing it for a while and theirs is already actively driving the cars on the freeway and other expressways in much the same manner as Google’s cars have been working in certain cities. We’ve seen examples of how these technologies currently read the roadways, but signs need to be recognized by color and graphic as well as shape (re: )

    So GM is hardly the only one and quite honestly Tesla has it right by using the drivers themselves to properly map all signage and road markings, especially when they can also be better mapped to the GPS network. The problem is that rather than consolidating all the data collected by all the players, each one will attempt to be proprietary and each one, to avoid the same kinds of copyright issues Rand McNalley and other mapping companies have to battle; purposely injecting a minor error on each page to distinguish their work from a competitor’s. It’s a smart idea that should have been ongoing pretty much from the advent of standalone GPS units for cars 20 years ago.

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