Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EV Coming Sooner Than Anticipated
Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer of autonomous tech at GM, told Tech Insider:
“So what I would say is this car (Chevrolet Bolt EV) is a big part of a transformation of transportation and mobility.”
She didn’t specify a timeline as to when the Chevy Bolt may be released to the public with autonomous technology or as part of an autonomous ride-sharing program, but she did make it clear that it would be sooner than expected.
General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft ride-sharing company back in January after it announced such plans at CES. Two months later, the company bought autonomous tech start-up Cruise Automation.
By May, Cruise Automation was actively testing its self-driving tech on Chevy Bolts. Lyft and Cruise aren’t working together as of yet, but it seems that that will be the future direction of the anticipated programs.
Wall Street Journal reported that GM may have a fleet of Lyft self-driving cars on public roads for testing prior to the end of this year. Fletcher explained:
“We have not made that announcement yet, but what I would say is this is all coming much faster than people anticipate, so I’ll say that much. We have been transparent about that. We are working on an on-demand ride-sharing network with Lyft, it’s not something we are thinking about, it’s something we are very much readying for consumer use.”
Fletcher is a big fan of EVs and was GM’s chief engineer for electric vehicles prior to moving to the autonomous car program. She sees the Bolt EV as the perfect vehicle for autonomy and more specifically, for fleets and public transportation. The affordable, long-range, all-electric crossover will go into production in October. Fletcher said:
“They (EVs) operate very smoothly, they operate very quietly, seamlessly, and so you can create this very positive experience inside the car. People they want that, they want to get in the car and for it to feel like a cocoon, so they can take a nap or have a conference call.”
Without being specific, Fletcher made is quite clear that the Chevrolet Bolt will be the vehicle of choice for urban mobility and autonomous ride-sharing applications . . . and everything is in place to bring this to fruition very soon.
Source: Tech Insider