The other day we told you about General Motors’ plan to develop driverless cars. As wild as that idea sounds, company Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner told people at the Consumer Electronics Show that GM is serious about it.
Wagoner didn’t spent a lot of time discussing the proposal, which was buried deep in his keynote address, but he did say GM is developing vehicle-to-vehicle communications that will "minimize traffic jams and, more importantly, greatly reduce traffic accidents and fatalities with minimal and possibly even no roadway infrastructure required."
That’s not quite the same as driverless cars, but Wagoner cited the Boss, the autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe GM and Carnegie Mellon University developed for the DARPA Urban Challenge, as an example of where the technology stands and where it might be headed.
GM is the first auto company invited to address CES, and of course Wagoner’s speech focused on technology the company is developing for tomorrow’s cars. He said a lot about what’s coming for OnStar and promised to bring 1 million E85 flex-fuel vehicles to market in 2008 (he also said GM plans to offer flex-fuel versions of half its lineup by 2011). GM’s touting E85 at every opportunity, but with fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s gas stations actually selling the stuff, it’s clearly not the game-changing technology the General’s making it out to be – and Wagoner touched on that, too. He spent a lot of time discussing the Chevrolet Volt and said "we’re moving as fast as we can to bring it to market." He also promised a plug-in version of the Saturn Vue hybrid "as soon as we can."