>> In the race to get self-driving cars on the road, no company has been more aggressive with its goals than General Motors, promising investors that its autonomous car unit crews will deliver a large scale ride hailing service by next year, putting it ahead of Alphabet's Waymo, Uber and Lyft.
But can GM deliver? Reuters correspondent Heather Somerville.>> Critics and people inside the industry are saying that the timeline for this technology has been massively overstated. For instance, Cruise. The self driving car company owned now by General Motors is promising a 2019 deployment of a self-driving ride hailing service in San Francisco.
Many people have their doubts that Cruise can pull this off.>> Some of those doubters include people close to the project. Current, and former employees telling Reuters Cruise's driverless cars still struggle to identify whether objects on the road are moving or stationary, and their cars at times couldn't recognize pedestrians.
The technical challenge is proving to be so immense that even the brightest minds underestimated how long it would take to get cars on the road without a driver behind the wheel. Kyle Vogt, the head of GM's Cruise division, in an interview with Reuters admitted safety is still an issue, but he thinks that can be fixed by the deadline.
>> People are really good at handling exceptions and unusual situations on the road, like an unplanned construction zone or things from inclement weather or just weird traffic jams in other situations. Whereas for a machine, that's really hard to interpret. And that's one of the reasons we test our cars almost exclusively in places like downtown San Francisco.
So we see lots of those events and we can train our software to handle them appropriately.>> But because of regulations, crews can't do those test without safety drivers, something it will eventually have to do to prove its technology works. Getting the California Department of Motor Vehicles to give its okay, will be the first sign GM is moving closer to the goal.