General Motors’ Plan to Produce Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt

December 23, 2016

chevrolet-boltGeneral Motors has a plan of taking advantage of the new self-driving auto law implemented in Michigan. With the production of Chevy Bolt, GM will be the first car manufacturer to produce autonomous cars. According to Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, the automaker is set to immediately start conducting tests for the self-driving Chevy Bolts within the Detroit area. The testing in question is expected to begin as early as January 2017. Doug Parks, the vice president of General Motors said that the automaker has already started testing around 40 autonomous Bolts in Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Francisco. The test runs in Michigan will be on a larger scale compared to the ones currently going on.

The automaker is set to utilize Michigan’s self-driving vehicle policy, as well as current severe weather conditions that take place in Michigan. Mary Barra said that the main objective is to make sure that the autonomous cars produced can be driven safely in all roads and weather conditions. A few days ago, Rick Snyder, the Michigan governor, signed legislation that gave automakers, as well as technology partners, a go-ahead to implement, test, and market autonomous cars in the state. The policy covers more than what has been enacted in other states. It allows for the removal of brake pedals and steering wheels. It also gives companies the permission to provide ride-hailing options with their autonomous cars.

Assembling of the autonomous Bolts will be held at the General Motors plant situated in Orion Township. Non-autonomous fully-electric Chevy Bolts are produced within the same plant along with Chevrolet Sonic subcompact vehicle. The workers of GM will incorporate some of the Chevy Bolt’s sensors, Lidar (radar that uses light rather than sound), and cameras, as well as test out other autonomous technology. So far, testing has been been done only on private roads located a mile from the General Motors technical center. Barra stated that the automaker will open up testing to nearby roads followed by expansion throughout Detroit.

Chevrolet dealers started selling non-autonomous Bolts in Oregon and California this week. The market will be expanded to Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York in early next year. Around mid next year, the Bolt will have spread nationwide. General Motors has been conducting road testing for self-driving cars for many years, and now it has become a significant push by car manufacturers, technology companies, and auto suppliers to increase the popularity of autonomous cars on the United States roads. Tesla Model X and Model S equipped with full autonomy hardware are under production. The anticipated Model 3 will also have it.

 

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