General Motors (GM) has filed a patent for new autonomous vehicle technology that could teach learners how to drive without the need for a human instructor.
The American firm suggests that it could introduce technology in its future self-driving cars that will judge a learner’s driving ability, giving operational feedback and taking over control if needed.
The documents, filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, show the use of sensors and an on-board computer to judge the learner’s skills. It then gives a score to the driver based on their actions - affected by the extent to which the self-driving tech needed to intervene at any stage.
GM says that although current training methods with a human instructor work, they might not be “optimal” in all situations, adding that more time and money could be spent by a learner with a human teacher.
No news has been announced about a release plan for the technology, and given GM's limited presence in Europe, any production roll-out would no doubt be initially restricted to its US home market.
Back in 2020, GM-owned autonomous vehicle manufacturer Cruise unveiled an electric self-driving shuttle called the Origin. It was designed as part of the American company's commitment “to improving life in cities” and will form the basis of a new public mobility service being rolled out in San Francisco, California.
GM’s latest patent was filed just a few days before the results of the UK government’s consultation into new laws surrounding autonomous vehicles.
The Department for Transport has today said that drivers will be allowed to watch television while in a moving autonomous car.
However, this will apply only to non-driving related content on built-in screens when the vehicle is in control of itself. It will still be illegal to use mobile phones in the same scenario.
The government predicts that the UK's first self-driving vehicles could be ready for use later this year.