Self-driving Cars by 2020, Former GM Exec Says

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

Self-driving cars aren’t new, but if electric vehicles’ slow adoption rates among U.S. consumers are any measure of new technology acceptance then autonomous cars can’t be close at hand, or can they?

According to a speech given by Larry Burns, former General Motors research and development head, we can expect such technology by 2020. Unless you’ve been ignoring auto news, that sentence might seem strange. We already have cars that drive themselves, even to Taco Bell drive-through windows, courtesy of Google.

That said, Google isn’t an automaker, and the political hiccups ahead for legalizing autonomous cars are plenty. Yet Burns seems optimistic, citing the ways people could benefit.

“Most people spend 60-90 minutes in the car a day. If we could give that time back to them, that would be very valuable,” Burns said at the University of Michigan Robotics Day. “We’re talking enormous opportunity and self-driving vehicles are going to make that possible. It’s rethinking the entire system of mobility.”

It might seem like a grandiose pipe dream, but Burns rightfully said technology is moving quickly enough to be a catalyst for features in the near future like “cruise control on steroids.”

Once you bridge that gap, self-driving cars aren’t really that far, or so Burns thinks. “We’re in this five- to 10-year window when it’s going to be really exciting… By 2020 we’ll have self driving cars.”

[Source: Automotive News]

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="">Google+</A>.

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