GM planning to start production and testing of the Chevrolet Bolts equipped with the self-driving technology in January next year. Company will become the first producer who works on the mass production of the self-driving vehicles in its Michigan plant.
AV Bolts will be built with all the technologies needed for autonomous driving. Plant in Orion Township, Michigan already makes the regular Bolts, EV and the Chevy Sonic subcompact. GM already has been testing about 40 self-driving Bolts on roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona, but the fleet used in Michigan will be consequentially bigger, according from the factory sources.
GM will be first company to mass produce completely autonomous vehicles
Autonomous testing in Michigan is for now limited to small area of private roads around its Technical Center. As we reported last week, Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder signed the legislation that allows testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles across the state. Connected with that GM will for now use the roads in the area around the plant and later testing will be expanded to the Detroit region.
Mary Barra, General Motors CEO said that they start producing the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at Orion Township factory at the beginning of the next year. “We’re ensuring that our AVs can operate safely across a full range of road, weather and climate conditions,” Barra said.
Barra didn’t answer to the question when GM expects to start offering autonomous vehicles publicly. Investment of $500 million which GM has injected in the ride-hailing company Lyft in January this year was planned for eventual adding of autonomous Bolts to Lyft’s fleet for the next several years.
Automakers are competing who is going to make the breakthrough in autonomous driving, and GM is one of them who is trying to prepare it for public use. In order to provide safety, companies need to test numerous hypothetical questions, and solve open issues. Autonomous technology is seen as safe one, since the thousands of lives are finished every year in crushes, mainly caused because of the human mistake.