GM's self-driving car fails to see pedestrians and detects 'phantom' bicycles, report claims

GM might not hit its 2019 goals

In brief: Uber and Tesla aren't the only companies in the self-driving
car industry who are facing some technical problems. GM and its
autonomous car division Cruise are dealing with similar issues -
according to anonymous sources, Cruise's vehicles have failed to detect
pedestrians and have detected "phantom" bicycles that don't exist,
prompting the cars to slam on their breaks erratically.

Carmaker General Motors acquired self-driving car startup Cruise way
back in 2016, and it's made good use of its purchase ever since. Much
like other companies in the tech and vehicle industries (such as Waymo,
Uber, and Cadillac), General Motors (GM) views self-driving cars as the
way of the future - as such, it's put quite a few resources into
researching the tech and developing its own autonomous systems.

Indeed, in January, GM said it wanted to deploy fully autonomous, manual
control-free vehicles by 2019; an ambitious goal, to be sure, but it
began to look much more likely following GM's recent investment
partnership with Honda.

Unfortunately, GM's plans may have hit a slight roadblock now. According
to sources who spoke to Reuters, the carmaker's self-driving cars are
having a difficult time identifying objects in motion, including
pedestrians. Furthermore, the anonymous individuals said GM's vehicles
have been known to see "phantom" bicycles, prompting them to slam on the
breaks "erratically."

Given these (and other) hurdles, sources believe it is "highly unlikely"
that GM will be able to hit its 2019 targets. Of course, considering
the issues the industry has faced as of late -- including a handful of
fatal self-driving crashes -- GM will likely not have any major qualms
about delaying their plans if it results in a safer product for

At any rate, GM probably doesn't have much to worry about from its
competition at the moment. Virtually every company in the autonomous car
industry is facing similar problems (with the exception, perhaps, of
Waymo), and few have come up with surefire solutions.

With this in mind, as consumers, we can probably expect at least a
couple more years of testing and experimentation before we begin seeing
true Level 5 automation in mass-market vehicles.

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