May 23 (Reuters) - General Motors' CEO Mary Barra backed the Detroit automaker's efforts towards building autonomous vehicles at a Detroit Economic Club event on Thursday.


Barra's comments come at a time when companies involved in autonomous driving technology are pushing for new feature-packed cars that are expected to be safer than human-driven ones.

However, the firms have faced heavy regulatory scrutiny after accidents involving self-driving vehicles.


On AI: "If you think about autonomous vehicles, that's the ultimate in artificial intelligence, coupled with machine learning. That really leads to a world where we're going to be safer because 90% of accidents that happen on the roads today... were caused by human error. So if we have the technology that doesn't drive impaired or sleepy, that knows all the traffic laws, follows all of them, that's going to lead to safer roads for everyone."

On China: "We have to compete and win based on strong brands," Barra said. "Governments around the world are looking to make sure there's a level playing field."

On competitors: "There's a lot that keeps you up at night. It's just such a dynamic time. You've got to constantly be a little paranoid."

On how long she plans to continue as CEO: "That's a question for the board, not for me. I'm having a lot of fun and I want to make sure we have our transformation on a good path. I don't think I'm headed anywhere soon."

On Elon Musk, and if his actions have hurt the Tesla brand: "I have respect for him. This is a kind of a different playbook for entrepreneurs or innovators, I would say, from a company that's been around for 100 years. At General Motors, we have to really think through and we try to talk about issues that are consistent with our company values." (Reporting by Nathan Gomes and Nora Eckert; Editing by Pooja Desai)