General Motors is getting a head start on its autonomous vehicle testing venture. GM told a source that, with the help of Lyft, it plans on testing thousands of self-driving Bolt EVs by 2018. If the automaker is successful in this feat, it will be one of the first car makers to test such a large group of autonomous vehicles before 2020.
General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, said back in December that GM had plans to begin making a self-driving Bolt EV starting the beginning of this year. The automaker was already testing about 40 self-driving Bolts in Arizona, California, and Michigan. Michigan’s governor signed a legislature not too long ago that finally allowed for the testing of self-driving cars.
This announcement isn’t really a surprise. The race to create an autonomous vehicle is on. Ford stated its plans for coming out with an autonomous vehicle for testing sometime in 2021. Fiat Chrysler announced their partnership with Waymo, who is also currently testing nearly 60 self-driving vehicles in four states, for the production of autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Even Uber and Volvo are collaborating to make a self-driving version of the XC90 crossover. The two companies agreed to a $300 million deal to join forces with self-driving technology.
GM’s investment in Lyft took place last year when the automaker put $500 million into a minority stake in the company. That made GM the first car company to actually make a significantly large move toward the further production of self-driving vehicles. It was also stated that Lyft users and drivers preferred GM vehicles when renting. Lyft users and drivers gained access to GM’s OnStar options.
While Lyft didn’t immediately comment on the source, GM made a statement saying, “We do not provide specific details on potential future products or technology rollout plans. We have said that our AV technology will appear in an on-demand ridesharing network application sooner than you might think.”