Michigan recently passed the SAVE Act, which gives the green light to autonomous vehicle testing on public streets. And, as expected, automakers are announcing their intentions to take advantage of this new legislation. GM is one of the first to announce it’ll move its testing from a private track in Warren, Michigan to its home state’s public roads.
The automaker will retrofit a fleet of Chevy Bolts with the technology needed to drive itself, including LIDAR, cameras, sensors and more. Once it has a fleet of these built, it will take to the streets surrounding the Orion Township plant for initial testing. In the winter months, it will take testing to metro Detroit for winter-weather trials.
The plan is to start production of a new-generation autonomous fleet in the Orion plant in early 2017. There is no mention of how many autonomous Bolts it will build for use in Michigan, but there are more than 40 testing on public roads in Scottsdale, Arizona and San Francisco, California. My gut says 50 to 100 should be appropriate.
GM has been working toward autonomous technology for just about a year now. Some of its recent moves toward this technology include a full engineering team, a $500 million investment in Lyft to create a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles and the acquisition of Cruise Automation.
We’ll continue monitoring GM’s move toward autonomous cars and bring you updates as they become available. Stay tuned.