The most significant change affecting modern mobility is the rise of autonomous vehicles (AVs). Autonomous driving is on the brink of disrupting the automotive industry, and GM is helping chart the course of that transformation. AVs could help bring enormous societal benefits, the most visible of which will be dramatic increases in road safety. Consider that in the United States alone, nearly 40,000 people are killed and 2 million are injured on the roads each year. Human error is to blame for 94 percent of these injuries and deaths. By taking human fatigue, distraction and impairment out of the equation, we can save the lives of tens of thousands of drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.
AVs will save another precious commodity: time. The number of cars on the road — which currently lack connectivity to manage their flow — creates congestion, wastes time and costs money. The average American spends 42 hours in traffic every year, paying roughly $1,400 for that fuel. Globally, we estimate that the economy loses roughly $1 trillion per year in lost productivity due to people and goods being stuck in traffic. AVs will address these challenges by reducing the crashes that bring traffic to a standstill and will ease bottlenecks through technologies like platooning.
GM is the right company to deliver the benefits of AVs. Unlike other companies who are retrofitting conventional vehicles with autonomous technology, or designing their own vehicles for the first time, GM brings expertise in automotive design, safety testing and proven quality methods refined over more than a century. We also have the manufacturing capacity and talent to bring AVs quickly to scale. In fact, in 2017 we became the first automaker to use mass-production auto assembly line methods for autonomous vehicles, and we remain the only company with this capacity.
In 2018, GM published our first Self-Driving Safety Report, describing how safety is integrated into the development, testing and deployment of the Cruise AV. Our AVs are built at our assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan, which assembles thousands of vehicles per year. The AVs undergo the same rigorous safety and durability testing as other GM production vehicles. Vehicle development fully addresses all 12 safety elements in the NHTSA’s voluntary guidance, Automated Driving Systems 2.0 — A Vision for Safety.
GM is the right
benefits of AVs
Every GM autonomous test vehicle is also an electric vehicle, with a design based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Introducing these technologies in tandem accomplishes multiple goals, including increasing acceptance of EVs and encouraging buildout of EV charging infrastructure. In addition, there are benefits to integrating AV technology into an EV — as opposed to a conventional or hybrid vehicle — from an engineering perspective.
Across the country at the state and federal level, regulators and legislators are actively considering how to help foster and shape the evolution of AVs. GM is committed to a transparent and active partnership with policymakers in this process. In particular, we are focused on discussing our mobility offerings with city officials across the U.S. and around the world, given that urban settings are the environment in which many of our advanced technologies will provide the most robust applications and value.
Connectivity is a foundational enabler of a future that includes on-demand car sharing and AVs. GM’s two decades of experience building our OnStar in-vehicle safety and security service, and our diagnostic, navigation and connectivity services, make us the most connected automaker on the planet. This sets the stage for deploying connected vehicle technology to improve safety and relieve congestion by allowing vehicles to communicate with one another and the infrastructure. Equally important, this has provided us with an understanding and appreciation that offering a vehicle with the latest technology is only meaningful when it is seamlessly integrated, as well as consistent and relevant to our customers. Today, we provide Connected Services and OnStar to 20 million members, with OnStar receiving an average of nearly 200,000 phone calls per day.
We are balancing these advances in technology with attention to the potential risks they pose. For example, continued evolution of connected car technologies, the expansion of the vehicle ecosystem and advent of autonomous driving capabilities elevates cybersecurity concerns to another level of complexity and risk. In recognition of these developments and their potential impact on our business, GM has implemented a new cybersecurity governance structure at the highest levels of the company. Oversight responsibilities for cybersecurity programs and risks now lie with the GM Board of Directors, which has created a Cybersecurity Committee. At the operational level, cybersecurity management sits in a new Global Cybersecurity organization that encompasses both product and corporate cybersecurity functions across all areas of the business.
The freedom and opportunity that vehicles have provided over the past 100 years has come with often adverse effects in the form of injuries, emissions and congestion. Now, transformative innovations — autonomy, combined with electrification, sharing and connectivity — are changing the nature of transportation and our relationships to the vehicles that move us. These innovations, in the hands of GM engineers and experts, are creating a historic opportunity to make personal mobility safer, better and more sustainable for customers around the world.
GM has implemented a new cybersecurity governance structure at the highest levels of the company