As part of its general push towards the development and eventual commercialization of self-driving vehicle tech, GM will be building and deploying thousands of self-driving Chevy Bolt EV test cars in 2018, according to unnamed sources cited in an exclusive from Reuters.
If true, what this means is that GM will be the first major auto manufacturer to begin large-scale testing of self-driving cars within the US.
As it stands, the only firm doing anything very similar to what GM will reportedly begin doing in 2018 is Waymo (Google/Alphabet) — that testing is in 4 states and based around 60 or so vehicles. (Tesla’s approach to “testing” self-driving tech is quite different, and arguably much superior as regards development speed.)
Reuters provides more on the GM/Lyft news:
“Most of the specially equipped versions of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle will be used by San Francisco-based Lyft, which will test them in its ride-sharing fleet in several states, one of the sources said. GM has no immediate plans to sell the Bolt AV to individual customers, according to the source.
“The sources spoke only on condition of anonymity because GM has not announced its plans yet. GM executives have said in interviews and investor presentations during the past year they intend to mass-produce autonomous vehicles and deploy them in ride services fleets. However, GM officials have not revealed details of the scale of production, or the timing of the deployment of those vehicles.”
When a comment was requested from GM (by Reuters), this very stock-sounding response was given: “We do not provide specific details on potential future products or technology rollout plans. We have said that our AV technology will appear in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than you might think.”
In turn, Lyft chose not to provide a response at all, apparently.
As it stands, GM is now testing self-driving Chevy Bolts in Scottsdale, Arizona, and in San Francisco — with reported plans to begin testing this year in Detroit.
Exciting news. Combined with its recent lobbying efforts as regards autonomous vehicle regulations, it’s clear that the company is pushing hard to be one of the first to market with an autonomous on-demand taxi service, and/or fleet/delivery services.
Photo by Kyle Field
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.