GM's 'Pod Cars' to Steer Themselves ... One Day

EN-V can be paged with a smartphone, but it's at least 10 years away
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2011 1:23 PM CDT
GM EN-V Car Is Zero-Emissions, Self-Steering
The EN-V is shown at a launch ceremony at the Shanghai Pudong Expo in China, Wednesday, March 24, 2010.   (AP Photo)

Move over, Volt: GM’s got an even more futuristic concept car on the way, and Fast Company has the latest. The Electric Network-Vehicle (EN-V) is an electric car that steers itself via GPS. A prototype was unveiled last year, and rumors have been swirling that a production date had been set. But according to a GM rep, the EN-V won't enter production for 10 to 15 years, and may end up looking very different from what you see here. It will stay small and keep its vehicle-to-vehicle communication abilities, but the final version will be “designed to be more practical for real-world use," says the rep—for instance, the prototype can't operate in rain.

Field trials could begin in the next few years. So why the delay on production? GPS troubles, says the rep. “A big part of autonomous capability comes from GPS. Our current precision is a maximum of three meters, which really isn't adequate for reliable autonomous operation.” But “over the course of the next decade or so, [they] will put up new GPS satellites to improve precision and reliability.” Once the infrastructure is in place, the EN-V could show up everywhere from megacities to college campuses—and you’ll be able to send one your way using a smartphone app. (More General Motors stories.)

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