On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan, General Motors announced on Thursday it will begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads.
GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017.
Testing is already underway on GM’s Technical Center campus in Warren, Mich., and with the passage of the SAVE Act legislation will now expand to public roads on the facility’s outskirts.
Within the next few months, testing will expand to metro Detroit, which will become GM’s main location for development of autonomous technology in winter climates.
Workers at the Orion Township assembly plant will build test fleet Bolt EVs equipped with fully autonomous technology. The plant currently manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic. The new equipment will include LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware designed to ensure system safety, leveraging GM’s proven manufacturing quality standards.
The test fleet vehicles will be used by GM engineers for continued testing and validation of GM’s autonomous technology already underway on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as part of the Michigan testing fleet. GM has about forty test vehicles operating in San Francisco and Scottsdale.
Last week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that allows operation of autonomous vehicles on Michigan roads.
The bill will allow for automated vehicle platoons, where vehicles travel together at electronically coordinated speeds, and authorizes on-demand autonomous vehicle networks. It also clears the way for the American Center for Mobility, a public-private partnership turning the 335-acre grounds of the former GM Willow Run facility into a testing site for autonomous vehicles.