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GM will let employees ride around in self-driving Chevy Volts starting next year

GM will let employees ride around in self-driving Chevy Volts starting next year

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General Motors announced this morning that it's rolling out a fleet of autonomous 2017 model year Volts to its Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan in late 2016. Employees there will use an app to summon one of the Volts and select their destination, which sounds a little like Uber without a driver. Like the cars that Google has deployed on public roads, it's likely that these Volts will still have their steering wheels and pedals in case a human needs to take over.

GM describes the initiative as a "rapid-development laboratory," which is exactly what it needs to keep pace in autonomous driving: companies like Google and Audi have logged millions of miles in their self-driving vehicles, many on public roads. GM, meanwhile — though it's been working on self-driving tech for some time — hasn't made much of a splash with its efforts. Uber's Travis Kalanick is rumored to have said that he'd like to buy every autonomous car Tesla makes, and — even if GM gets into the ride-sharing business itself — there's little doubt that GM (and others) would like in on those orders over the coming years and decades.

Customers will get their first crack at a highly autonomous GM car with the 2017 Cadillac CT6 launching in 2016, which was confirmed today as the first vehicle to get the company's "Super Cruise" technology. It had previously announced that Super Cruise would come to a production Cadillac in calendar year 2016, so this isn't a surprise, but it wasn't clear which models would get it. The CT6, as Cadillac's current flagship, makes sense.