GM just popped the hood on its small but growing fleet of self-driving Chevy Bolts. The 109-year-old automaker announced today that it has completed production on 130 additional all-electric autonomous vehicles at its Orion assembly plant in Michigan.
This round of Bolts has been fitted with a new version of the self-driving technology that GM has been developing with Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle startup that the company acquired in early 2016. They’ll soon meet up with the 50 Bolts that are using the current Cruise / GM technology to drive the streets of San Francisco; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Detroit.
GM first signaled its interest in self-driving cars back in 2015 when it started testing the tech on a few Chevy Volts. But it wasn’t until the company invested $500 million in Lyft in January 2016 (and the subsequent acquisition of Cruise) that it started talking up an ambitious goal of developing a fleet of for-hire robot vehicles. Since then, the automaker’s been steadily revealing more about the project, including dashboard footage of the first-generation tests.
Thousands more could be coming next year
Apart from a few spy shots, though, this is the first official look GM’s offered of the Bolt’s new kit of sensors. They’re fitted with the usual stuff like LIDAR and cameras, but GM’s not saying much more beyond that.
This is likely far from the last round of self-driving Bolts to be assembled in Michigan — GM reportedly wants to have thousands of them roaming public roads in 2018, and Lyft is gearing up to deploy the autonomous vehicles to its existing ride-sharing system by 2020 or 2021.