Forget those Tesla crashes: GM says you can trust its autonomous vehicles - The Verge

General Motors is convinced that it can clear the air on autonomous vehicles in time for its new technologies, including Ultra Cruise driver assist and fully autonomous robotaxis, to reach its customers.

General Motors is racing to electrify its vast lineup of vehicles in a concerted bid to outpace Tesla as the No. 1 seller of EVs in the world. But it’s also competing with Tesla on a whole other front: autonomous vehicles.

On this front, GM feels like it has an edge. It’s hands-free advanced driver-assist system, Super Cruise, will double its coverage area to 400,000 miles of highways and routes later this year. Next year, the automaker will unveil the next iteration, Ultra Cruise, which GM has said will cover “95 percent” of driving tasks. And its robotaxi division, Cruise, is currently picking up and dropping off passengers in San Francisco as part of the city’s first real commercial autonomous ridehail service.

But at present, public perceptions around AVs and driver-assist technology are not great. People see the headlines about the latest Tesla crash, or they remember the woman who was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle in 2017, and they conclude that autonomous vehicles are too dangerous for public use.

That could hurt GM’s efforts to put more autonomous and partially automated vehicles on the road. The company is counting on an education campaign, in addition to stories in the media, to help consumers navigate the differences between a Super Cruise-equipped Chevy pickup truck, for example, and a fully autonomous Cruise Origin, which is set to hit the road as soon as next year.

GM president Mark Reuss published a piece on LinkedIn today that outlines the automaker’s approach to safety, both with regard to its advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) like Super Cruise and Ultra Cruise and its fully autonomous projects like Cruise. He also revealed a few new details about the technology that will comprise the Ultra Cruise system, like a lidar sensor “behind the windshield” and a new smartphone app “that will be viewable from inside the parked vehicle and will offer information like driver’s statistics, trips and history to the user.”

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