General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra on Tuesday said she believes self-driving vehicles should keep steering wheels and brakes and accelerators in them as the technology develops.
“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 reporters before the company’s annual meeting at its Detroit headquarters.
Alphabet’s Google has proposed doing away with the steering wheels in autonomous vehicles because once developed they may not need them.
IHS Automotive on Tuesday issued a report that estimates that by 2035, there will be 21 million autonomous vehicles in the world.
Barra also praised the company’s record profit in 2015 and reiterated that the company would be at the forefront in the evolution of the auto industry toward autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing. GM said that 2016 profit will be improved from last year’s record.
During the meeting, Barra defended GM’s emphasis on retail auto sales in the U.S. market, which are direct sales to consumers, and its de-emphasis on low-profit sales to rental agencies. The practice has led to fewer overall sales. GM’s market share has slipped to 16.6% in the first five months of this year compared with 17.7% for the same period in 2015.
“All share is not created equal,” Barra said.
Shareholders on Tuesday approved a slate of a dozen for the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s board of directors, including Barra, who is also chairman of that board.
One new member, Jane Mendillo, 57, former president and chief executive officer of Harvard Management Company, which manages the endowment of Harvard University, was voted to the board. She replaces outgoing board member Steve Girsky, who joined the board in 2009 and did not seek re-election.