After announcing that GM wants to build self-driving Chevy Bolt electric cars in the Detroit factory starting early 2017, GM has now announced that they plan to deploy thousands of self-driving Bolt electric cars in several test fleets made in partnership with their affiliate Lyft Inc, starting with 2018.
These tests would be some of the largest tests of this kind ever made by a car company for fully autonomous vehicles before the year 2020.
A large number of self-driving Chevy Bolt vehicles will be used by the San Francisco-based Lyft company, which will use them in its ride-sharing fleet in several U.S. states.
Giving the fact that the self-driving tests are planned only for 2018, it is obvious that the company will provide autonomous Chevy Bolt vehicles (Bolt AV) in its offer only after the year 2018.
The rival of GM, Ford Motor Co also plans to build self-driving vehicles, but is ready to start the production at a suburban Detroit plant only in late 2020.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is another automaker that plans to provide a small number of Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Waymo, in order to turn them into self-driving vehicles.
GM executive Mike Ableson announced that he and GM’s President Dan Ammann already discussed with the founders of the Lyft company, the prospect of jointly developing a ride sharing business based on self-driving vehicles.
To make this joint business a successful one, Ableson stated that the partnership between the two companies must be able to engineer autonomous systems that can be used for self-driving vehicles, and these vehicles must be deployed in a ride sharing fleet.
In early 2016, GM acquired Cruise Automation, which is a San Francisco startup that will help GM to accelerate the development of self-driving vehicles.
To accelerate the process even more, GM launched a car sharing business called Maven, which has already provided vehicles to Lyft.
Ableson said that Lyft, Cruise and Maven are each creating a part of the singular solution representing the autonomous GM Bolt vehicle.