Self-Driving Cars by 2020, GM Predicts

Dennis Faas's picture

Tired of the stress associated with fighting traffic on your daily commute? General Motors (GM) predicts such battles could be a thing of the past by the end of this decade. The company recently forecasted a rise in the number of driverless cars before 2020.

In a recent report, GM notes that there are a number of reasons to look forward to a driverless future. For one, the Detroit-based company believes such technology would see to a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and says that, as the tech improves, reductions could actually increase as time goes on. (Source:

The Driving Experience Changed Forever

But a driverless future wouldn't just change fuel consumption -- instead, it would have a dramatic impact on the way vehicles and highways looked and operated. It's possible that in an age where driver mistakes are eradicated, vehicles could be built of considerably lighter materials. This would make them substantially smaller.

Beyond that, since the driving experience would be automated, cars could fit on the road closer together. Together, these factors would allow more cars on the highway at once, potentially reducing traffic problems and getting people to their destinations in less time. (Source:

Google, Federal Highway Administration Also Keen

General Motors isn't the only company looking forward to such an age.

Google has discussed the issue at length before, and for good reason: its search and maps technology would likely be a key component in driverless navigation systems. Even the U.S. Federal Highway Administration is investigating the idea, and is said to be working on projects associated with automated intersections.

According to the government agency, intersections would become safer and quicker to navigate because automated systems could calculate how many cars would be arriving at an intersection at any given time.

GM may be getting ahead of itself if it really believes this kind of technology will be ready for 2020. Beyond totally redesigning vehicles, highways, and traffic systems, auto insurance companies and the licensing apparatus would also be seriously affected.

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