Despite the attention and even cult-ish devotion given to Silicon Valley tech companies like Apple and Google, and the unfettered media fascination with every word out of Elon Musk, a company far away from California is preparing to dominate the market for all electric autonomous vehicles.
The company has an army of engineers working on its test vehicles. And it is so advanced in its plans for the vehicles it has already begun mass production. And rather than collaborating with another auto-maker or software company, this company is doing all its work in-house.
The company is GM.
GM is putting its own automation software and hardware onto its Bolt EV, which was named Motor Trend’s 2017 Car of the Year.® Unlike its rivals, GM has a long history of mass production. It’s putting that experience to good use, easily producing 130 Bolt’s with autonomous technology. FoxBusiness reports:
General Motors Co. says it has built 130 new self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric cars at a factory in suburban Detroit, making it among the first automakers to mass produce self-driving vehicles.
The automaker has been building self-driving Bolts at its Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan, since January. Unlike GM’s earlier self-driving test vehicles, the new cars were built on the same assembly line as regular Bolts that are being sold to customers. Once they rolled off the line, the self-driving Bolts went to another area of the plant to get computers, sensors and other hardware installed. The cars use software from Cruise Automation, a self-driving startup GM bought in 2016….
The new cars will join 50 self-driving Bolts with older technology that are already being tested in San Francisco; Scottsdale, Arizona; and the Detroit area. Barra says the new vehicles will help GM accelerate its testing in urban environments, which are among the most challenging for autonomous cars to navigate.
GM eventually plans to place self-driving Bolts in ride-hailing fleets in major U.S. cities. But unlike other automakers — who are generally targeting 2020 or 2021 for autonomous vehicle fleets — Barra is giving no target date. She said the company has set internal targets, but it’s not announcing them because it wants to make sure the vehicles are safe before they’re released.
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