GM CEO weighs in on autonomous cars.

Autonomous cars should have steering wheels and pedals during their development processes, says General Motors CEO Mary Barra. She encouraged caution with self-driving cars when talking to reporters in Detroit on Tuesday.

“We think that having that capability when the steering wheel and the pedals are still in the vehicle is a very good way to demonstrate and prove the safety,” Barra told The Detroit News.

Although GM’s core business remains selling traditional vehicles, Barra reaffirmed that the automaker is committed to developing self-driving technology. GM is already partnering with ride-sharing company Lyft to launch a test fleet of autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars (seen here in spy photos.)

“We really believe we’re in the midst of an industry that is transforming and we’re working very hard to lead in that transformation,” Barra said.

The question as to whether self-driving cars should have conventional controls remains contentious. Tesla’s Autopilot, for instance, allows Model S and Model X owners to take over the regular steering wheel and pedals instantly. But Google’s autonomous car prototypes didn’t have any manual override controls until California lawmakers stepped in and required them. A December 2015 proposal from the California Department of Motor Vehicles said, in part, "a licensed operator will be required to be present inside the vehicle and be capable of taking control in the event of a technology failure or other emergency."

As to customer preference, a recent survey suggested that most drivers would also want manual controls to take over an autonomous car. “Nearly everyone still wants traditional driver controls available,” University of Michigan researchers said in May. “It seems that giving up control is one of the major issues when it comes to acceptance of these vehicles.”

Source: The Detroit News

Be part of something big