Home Driverless Cars General Motors Files Patent for Autonomous Driving Instructor

General Motors Files Patent for Autonomous Driving Instructor

by Charles Choi
An autonomous car from General Motors’ subsidiary Cruise. Courtesy: Cruise.

Autonomous vehicles may one day help train new drivers, based on a patent applied for by General Motors.

The patent application, published on April 14, notes that while autonomous vehicles offer many potential advantages over traditional vehicles, “in certain circumstances it may be desirable to train humans to be able to drive vehicle without autonomous assistance for the vehicle.” For example, “a human may wish to drive for personal satisfaction,” or “may need to drive in certain situations — for example, if the human may be in a situation at some point in the future in which an operational autonomous vehicle may not be available or permitted in a certain location or situation.”

Human driving instructors may have their own flaws, the application noted. Such teachers may be biased, or such teaching may simply be time-consuming, costly, or difficult to schedule.

The new design from GM would use sensors that analyzed trainees as they sought to accelerate, steer, and brake with the autonomous vehicle, as well as a computer system to recommend the best courses of actions for the autonomous vehicle and judge how well the trainees matched such behavior. The better the score of a trainee, the more the autonomous vehicle would allow them to do.

The company is developing autonomous vehicles through its San Francisco-based subsidiary, which GM acquired in 2016. In February, Cruise began offering the public free driverless taxi rides in San Francisco, after receiving California’s first permit for driverless autonomous vehicle passenger service in 2021.

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