Just days after Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation allowing autonomous vehicle testing in Michigan, General Motors Co. has announced plans to begin doing so on public roads. The company also announced it will begin producing the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant in early 2017.
GM announced the dedication of an autonomous vehicle engineering division last year, and also made a $500 million investment with ride-sharing service Lyft to develop an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles, signaling the company’s commitment to innovative technology. The company is currently testing autonomous vehicles in 40 cities.
“Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality,” says Mary Barra, General Motors Chairman and CEO. “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.”
Testing is already underway on GM’s Technical Center campus in Warren, and with the passage of the SAVE Act legislation will now expand to public roads on the facility’s outskirts. Within the next few months, testing will expand to other public roads in metro Detroit, which will become GM’s main location for development of autonomous technology in winter climates.
Workers at the Orion plant, where the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic are currently manufactured will produce a test fleet of both models with fully autonomous technology. The new equipment will include LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware designed to ensure system safety, leveraging GM’s proven manufacturing quality standards.