Development of self-driving, electric cars and other futuristic vehicles are slowly moving out of the Silicon Valley. General Motors (NYSE:GM) has revealed they will start making self-driving cars at Detroit in Michigan from early next year. This was revealed by Mary Barra, the Chief Executive, last Thursday.
The 54-year old top executive said the autonomous vehicle technology they were working on will improve road safety while revolutionizing transport for their customers. “It’s a step closer to making this vision a reality”, she added, further stating that “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles”.
GM has been making all the right moves in this direction. The business acquired Cruise Automation recently, a company that makes autonomous driving technology.
General Motors to be a World Leader?
The new electric cars of General Motors will be made at their assembly plant in Orion Township, which is an hour away from the company’s headquarters in Detroit.
Presently, the factory is making the Chevrolet Bolt electric car and the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact car. The Bolt is going to be the first autonomous platform of GM. Speaking at the Detroit plant, Barra hoped that General Motors will be the world’s leading high-volume auto manufacturer of fully autonomous automobiles, produced in a mass-production assembly plant.
GM Can Now Test Autonomous Vehicles on Public Roads in Michigan
People working at GM’s Orion plant will be adding technology including cameras, laser sensors, and radar to many of the Bolt vehicles to make them autonomous cars. First, these vehicles will be tested in Michigan, and then added in GM’s test fleets at Scottsdale in Arizona and San Francisco. Lawmakers in Michigan passed legislation recently to allow carmakers test autonomous vehicles on public roads. Till now, General Motors (NYSE:GM) was testing these vehicles only within their own campus.
There is big movement in the self-driving automobiles sector, which is expected to be a keenly contested segment in the next 5-10 years. Carmakers such as Nissan (TYO:7201), Audi, and others are already testing self-driving vehicles. There is Google’s Waymo too, and the ride-sharing business Uber also plans to come out with these cars soon. Google has already released the first pictures of their Waymo self-driving vans.
Detroit has been at the center of the automobile industry for the past century. The electric cars of General Motors are bringing the city back in the limelight.