General Motors (GM), America’s largest car maker by sales, announced on Tuesday that it has completed production of 130 self-driving vehicles at its Orion assembly plant in Michigan.
GM started producing the Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles in January, and expects the self-driving test fleet to grow to 180.
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GM’s CEO and chairman Mary Barra said the company is the current market leader when it comes to autonomous cars — the only automaker with the ability to mass produce them.
Barra, speaking at the Orion plant, said:
The autonomous vehicles you see here today are purpose-built, self-driving test vehicles.
“The level of integration in these vehicles is on par with any of our production vehicles, and that is a great advantage. In fact, no other company today has the unique and necessary combination of technology, engineering and manufacturing ability to build autonomous vehicles at scale,” she added.
The cars are complete with the latest technology, including a LIDAR system which scans around corners for oncoming traffic., cameras, radars, 40 sensors as well as other hardware designed and built by GM and its suppliers.
Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise Automation, a self-driving car software company that GM acquired for $581m in 2016, said:
There are even a couple of cameras that are dedicated just to seeing traffic lights to make sure you don’t run red lights.
GM plans to hire 1,163 additional Cruise Automation engineers and other employees and will relocate the company’s headquarters to San Francisco.
A person must still sit behind the wheel of the self-driving Bolts in case human intervention is required to take control of the vehicle.
The cars will be on the road in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona later this month through Lyft, the ride-hailing company competing with the likes of Uber.
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GM invested $500m in Lyft last January as part of a self-driving partnership with the company.
GM shares were down 8 cents to $34.60 in Tuesday morning trading.
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