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This industry doesn’t want GM’s “almost” driverless car to catch on

Kevin Chupka
Executive Producer/Writer

Despite all their troubles of late, GM is touting the planned release of “super cruise control,” the next (first?) step toward a truly driverless car for the average consumer.

This isn’t some sort of high tech Google project. It’s a real technology that, under the right conditions, would take some of the responsibility of operating a vehicle away from the driver.

The concept depends a lot on other cars on the road being equipped with the same technology and the proper set-up of the road itself. In short, this is not the driverless car of science fiction but rather an “in between” phase before whatever turns out to be the reality of a driverless auto fleet.

A vehicle like the purported Cadillac that GM will release in 2016 is all well and good but as Mike Santoli, senior columnist for Yahoo Finance says, “nobody’s asking for them. You don’t have this massive consumer upwelling of demand saying, 'hey, we really want this low engagement.'”

Forgotten in the race to eliminate human error from behind the wheel are the implications it could have to industries that depend on it, namely the $200 billion insurance industry.  “The car insurance industry thinks it’s a potential existential threat,” Santoli says, “if we get road safety, massive societal benefit but somebody loses there...the guys that price individual liability for bad driving.”

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