NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — General Motors is planning to test self-driving cars in the streets of New York City early next year.
The auto company and Cruise Automation plan to deploy a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Volt electric cars in a five-square mile section of lower Manhattan in early 2018.
There will be someone in the driver’s seat as well as the passenger seat to make sure everything goes according to plan, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
It is seen as the first move toward GM’s commercial autonomous ride service and a direct threat to yellow cabs and app-based ride services like Uber and Lyft.
The cars will be programmed to navigate obstacles such as aggressive drivers, construction barriers and bad weather.
“New York City is one of the most densely populated places in the world and provides new opportunities to expose our software to unusual situations, which means we can improve our software at a much faster rate,” Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise Automation, said.
GM has been testing driverless vehicles in various markets, including San Francisco.
“The spirit of innovation is what defines New York, and we are positioned on the forefront of this emerging industry that has the potential to be the next great technological advance that moves our economy and moves us forward,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
Many New Yorkers are skeptical of the technology.
“It’s computers, I don’t have a lot of faith in computers,” one woman said.
“I don’t like it, personally I don’t trust it, I don’t trust electronics,” one man said.
“It’s a system, what happens if the system goes wrong,” another man said.
Industry experts predict one-quarter of the miles driven in the U.S. by the year 2030 will be in shared self-driving vehicles.