General Motors will begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in Michigan beginning immediately. Recently, Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, signed new legislation that increases the ability for those in the field to test and develop forthcoming autonomous technology.
According to The Detroit News, Senate Bill 995-998 puts Michigan ahead of other states. Gov. Snyder commented on the on the safety and economic benefits of autonomous technology, as did General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
“Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology,” she said.
GM will produce their latest autonomous test vehicles at the Orion Township assembly plant starting early next year. Autonomous testing is already underway on GM’s Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan. Within the next few months, testing will begin in metro Detroit, which will become GM’s primary area for autonomous vehicle development.
In June, GM started testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs on public roads in San Francisco, California and Scottsdale, Arizona. Currently, GM has more than 40 autonomous vehicles in development between the two cities. Michigan, however, may pose some challenges with harsh winters, although it’s critical GM tests their autonomous technology in a colder climate like metro Detroit.
Overall, the automaker’s focus is to deliver a superior product in an ever evolving area.
“Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles,” Barra said.
Orion Township assembly plant employees will build the test fleet of Bolt EVs. The Bolt EVs feature the latest and most advanced autonomous technology, including LIDAR, various cameras and sensors, and other hardware designed specifically for vehicle safety. The plant currently assembles the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic, and will leverage their robust manufacturing standards for the autonomous test fleet.
GM is going forward with their autonomous vehicle initiatives, making significant strides this year alone. In January, they created a dedicated autonomous vehicle engineering team and made a $500 million investment in Lyft to develop an integrated network of on-demand driverless cars in the United States. In March, GM acquired Cruise Automation to help facilitate development of autonomous technology.
“GM’s commitment to autonomous vehicles is inspiring, deliberate, and completely in line with our vision to make transportation safer and more accessible,” said Kyle Vogt, Founder of Cruise Automation, in March at the time of the acquisition.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.