Automotive News Canada - November 2017 - 24
* NOVEMBER 2017
GM's Carlisle: Industry can't afford major 'fail' on automated vehicles
By JOHN IRWIN
He said it would be ideal if government regulation in Canada and
elsewhere prioritized the deployment of autonomous vehicles in
densely populated urban areas,
where he and others see automated ride-hailing fleets quickly taking
"If we could prioritize that to
accelerate progress, that's probably a good way to think about it,"
He said it is crucial for Canadian
and U.S. regulators at the federal,
provincial and state levels to align
their priorities, pointing to a recent
memorandum of understanding on
vehicle technology between Ontario
and Michigan as an example of governments doing just that.
MONTREAL - THE AUTO
industry cannot afford a major failure once autonomous vehicles are
deployed en masse on public streets,
General Motors Canada President
Steve Carlisle said.
Speaking on a panel with other
global industry and government
leaders at the ITS (Intelligent
Transport Systems) World Congress
here Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, Carlisle said
the industry must do everything to
ensure autonomous technology is
safe and ready for use, or else risk a
potentially massive hit to the companies' reputations and the public's
desire for self-driving vehicles.
"We can't afford to have a fail
with an autonomous car because
that would set the industry back
and set the technology back for who
knows how long," Carlisle said.
His comments came as automakers and suppliers prepare to roll out
autonomous technology in the marketplace, something that could happen by the beginning of the next
decade. For years, the industry has
been testing vehicles equipped with
automated technology around the
world, including Canada, where GM
and other companies have invested
heavily in vehicle testing and development.
Carlisle said a major setback
with the technology behind self-driving vehicles could negatively affect
public trust. The potential benefits of automated driving, including
increased productivity and safety
and decreased traffic congestion and
deaths, would be moot.
Still, GM anticipates rolling out
self-driving vehicles sooner rather
than later. As a result, he said GM
is developing and testing its autonomous and connected technology
almost independently from potential
improvements in infrastructure.
"The reason for that is it's an
unpredictable pace at which we will
adopt autonomous, and we have
to assume it will happen faster as
GM Canada President Steve Carlisle: Public trust is crucial.
opposed to slower.
"So, we wouldn't want to find
ourselves in a situation where the
development of infrastructure negated basic progress on autonomous."
Transport Minister Marc
Garneau, who moderated the ITS
panel and gave an address beforehand, said the federal government
recognizes the need for major investments in infrastructure to allow for
the seamless deployment of autonomous and connected vehicles. He
said the government will work with
industry on infrastructure investments, as well as on regulation.
"We know that our transportation network has to be smarter in
every way," Garneau said. "I personally dream of a totally integrated transportation system, thereby
improving the safety, efficiency and
reliability of the entire system."
Carlisle told Automotive News
Canada following the panel that GM
Canada has benefitted from good
relationships with Canadian gov-
ernments at the federal and provincial levels, particularly in Ontario,
where regulators have allowed GM
and others to test autonomous technology on its
very quickly now moving past that
to allow regulation to allow
for deployment, which is
going to come
help with cyberse- meantime, GM
curity. ( P H O T O : I T S )
has invested heavily
in Ontario as it has ramped up its
self-driving car testing. The automaker announced last year that it
would hire about 700 engineers and
would recruit Canadians who left for
Silicon Valley to fill some of those
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who
spoke on the panel, said governments should play a role in facilitating partnerships between public
institutions and private companies
across borders. He said doing so
would allow the industry and governments to better address shared
concerns that they have on automated vehicle cybersecurity and other
"Cybersecurity is one of the
greatest risks to this entire field,"
Snyder said. "It's important, and I
think government has a huge role to
play in that."
Garneau said the federal government is in close contact with the
U.S. Department of Transportation
as the two countries tackle how to
allow for the deployment of automated vehicles.
"As our transportation systems
are highly integrated, new technology has to be operable on both sides
of the border," he said.
The annual ITS event, held in a
different city each year, draws top
thinkers and executives from automakers, suppliers, tech companies,
governments and academic institutions, focused on the concept of
"smart cities" in the wake of rapidly developing changes in transportation. - ANC