General Motors Co. (GM) is officially the first automaker to begin mass producing self-driving autos at their assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. The new fleet of self-driving vehicles consists of 130 Chevy Bolt EV models, but GM has already been testing 50 vehicles in three locations across the nation.
The news shouldn’t come as a surprise. At a press conference in December 2016 Mary Barra, CEO and chairman of GM, said that GM would be the first high-volume automaker to produce a fully autonomous prototype in an assembly plant.
To transform the Bolt EV into a self-driving vehicle, GM added several new high tech components to help it navigate, sense moving and nonmoving objects and keep the passengers safe. The new Bolt EV has updated sensors, radars and lidar and Doug Parks, GM vice president for autonomous technology and vehicle execution said the new parts are “more advanced, see farther, see nearer.” Parks also said the updated suite of hardware and software will help GM self-driving Bolts see farther and in different weather conditions and allow the car to drive a bit faster.
It seems that GM has big plans to increase testing of the self-driving fleet, and they have stated that later this year they plan to expand the number of test vehicles on the road to “hundreds.” Additionally, last year GM paid $500 million for a minority stake and a board position in Lyft Inc., the second-largest U.S. ride sharing firm.
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