Two American companies. One goal. To build a Driverless car. Google has been working on their driverless car for a few years now, out of their Google X portion of the company – now a subsidiary of Alphabet. While GM has been working on a driverless car, for literally almost a century. GM has a driverless car, a Cadillac, that’s being tested at a secret location in Michigan. This is the same place where General Motors test all of their cars, since around 1924, and debug them. See what needs to be worked on, before starting mass production. GM certainly has the information and experience to beat Google to a driverless car, but will they?
The Cadillac CT6 which is the car makers flagship sedan, is going to be the first model with Super Cruise, and that’s really the first big step into mass producing a driverless car, for GM. What Super Cruise does is it utilizes a camera that is hidden behind the car’s rearview mirror. This camera identifies lines on the street as well as objects ahead. There are also two short-range radars in the front-bumper, and a long-range radar that peeks from behind the grille. The object here is to keep the car centered in its lane. While the radars work to keep the car a safe distance from other cars around the CT6. All of this data gets feed into computers that are locked in aluminum boxes underneath the spare tire in the trunk. These computers then look at the data from the sensors in real time and tell the car when to accelerate, as well as brake and make turns. Hence, a driverless car.
In Bloomberg’s report about General Motors, and speaking with key officials, their opinion on Google is that they want to stop people from driving as well as owning cars. We’ve all heard the report from Google that they want to make an Uber-like experience with their driverless cars. Where the car pulls up to you when you need to go somewhere. Stanford professor, Sebastian Thrun, said that once you get into a business like that, it’s goodbye to Detroit. As Detroit’s economy has been all about General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
It’s clear that a few auto makers are a bit worried about Google, and see them as a clear competitor. But who will put a driverless car up for sale first? That’s going to be real interesting.