GM CEO Mary Barra stated Thursday (December 15, 2016), that General Motors wants to build autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars in the Detroit factory starting early 2017.
In her statement, Barra said “Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality.”
Regarding the autonomous vehicle technology, Barra stated “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.”
General Motors already started to test self-driving cars on the campus of its Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, which is located very close to Detroit, but now due to the fact that the state of Michigan recently passed the legislation needed to allow to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, we will see an expansion of these tests on the roads around Detroit.
General Motors will build its self-driving electric cars in the Orion Township assembly plant, even if the factory is currently building the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact car along with the Chevrolet Bolt electric car, which will also become GM’s autonomous platform.
In a recent speech at GM’s headquarters, Barra said that they expect to see GM becoming the first high-volume auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles in a mass-production assembly plant.
The next self-driving electric car produced by GM will include technology like laser sensors, radar and cameras.
In order to be tested in Michigan, the new self-driving cars will be included in the existing test fleets that are already in operation in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with the automotive data company at Kelley Blue Book, said the challenge will be for consumers to believe that one of the world’s largest car manufacturers can design and innovate such technology.
GM recently acquired Cruise Automation, which is a tech company specialized in autonomous driving.
In addition, GM made big investments in the ride-sharing company Lyft and now works with this company to integrate autonomous vehicles into Lyft’s fleet.
2017 Chevy Bolt EV will have a retail price of under $37,500, it will reach 0 to 60 mph in under 7 seconds (the electric motor develops 200 HP), and will provide a top range of 238 miles on a single charge.
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