GM is the first company to mass-produce AVs, putting us on track to launch an autonomous ride-sharing fleet by 2019.
GM is making fast progress toward our goal of putting autonomous, electric vehicles within reach of rideshare customers. In 2017, we became the first company to assemble self-driving test vehicles in a mass-production facility, with 130 of our third-generation Chevrolet Bolt EV test vehicles rolling out of our Orion Assembly Plant.
The vehicles draw upon technology from across GM’s vehicle portfolio. As an example, our test AVs use the same kind of long-range radar that our 2018 Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise technology uses. In addition, radiators, fans and other cooling systems from the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV control the temperatures of all AV electronics. At the same time, the test vehicles contain new designs that optimize them for sharing. Interior design changes, such as the design of the center console, make it easier for rear passengers to get in and out of the back seat—vital for a ride-sharing environment in urban areas.
Strategic acquisitions have made this rapid innovation possible. Cruise Automation, which is owned by GM, is pairing its expertise in autonomous technology with GM’s manufacturing scale, allowing us to develop three generations of self-driving test vehicles in just 14 months. A typical vehicle refresh, by comparison, can take up to 20 months to complete.
With the 2017 acquisition of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) developer Strobe, Inc., we’re gaining even more speed. LiDAR uses light to create high-resolution images that provide a more accurate view of the world than cameras or radar alone. It can even outperform the human eye in challenging situations such as detecting obstacles in the dark or when the sun is low in the sky or reflects off wet pavement. As self-driving technology continues to evolve, LiDAR’s accuracy will play a critical role in its deployment, significantly improving autonomous vehicles’ cost and capabilities.
Based on our current rate of development, we expect to have an autonomous ride-sharing fleet on the road by 2019. As this fleet is deployed, we expect its driving capabilities to accelerate quickly. Safety will remain our top priority and guide our actions as we work toward a mission of deploying driverless vehicles at scale.