Autonomous Chevrolet Bolts Will Be Produced/Tested In Michigan On Public Roads Within A Few Months


Autonomous Chevrolet Bolts will be testing on public roads withing a few months

Autonomous Chevrolet Bolts will be testing on public roads withing a few months

General Motors will not only build the second-generation autonomous Chevrolet Bolts at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan, but the company also has plans to start testing self-driving Bolts on Michigan roads very soon. GM CEO, Mary Barra, announced that GM will be the first major automaker to build a fully autonomous vehicle prototype, and that the Detroit area will be one of the main hubs for testing. She shared:

Chevrolet Bolt EV With Cruise Automation Tech

Chevrolet Bolt EV with Cruise Automation Tech

“We will now expand AV (autonomous vehicle) activities on public roads on the outskirts of our Warren campus. And within the next several months, we will expand testing to Metro Detroit.”

“We’re not putting a date on it. I think you see by our announcement today we are working extremely aggressive. We’re being gated by safety. We want to make sure we have safe and reliable autonomous vehicles on the road.”

The company is already underway with testing in “closed” areas, at its Warren Tech Center, in Michigan. Public road testing has been in place in California and Arizona for some time. GM acquired San Francisco-based self-driving tech startup, Cruise Automation, to assist with the project.

Testing in Michigan, especially during this time of year, will paint a clear picture as to how the autonomous Bolts fare in wintry conditions. Barra added:

You can see the name displayed on the bumper

You can see the name displayed on the bumper

“We’re ensuring our AVs can operate safely across a whole range of road, weather and climate conditions.”

GM is going to great lengths to assure that the autonomous Chevrolet Bolts are easily distinguishable to other drivers. They will have manufacturing license plates and be white (at least for now), with obvious roof-mounted autonomous tech. Engineers will be behind the wheel, as a safety precaution. They have actually named their cars to make the self-driving Bolts even more obvious, and the names will be displayed on the vehicles.

Testing will start in early 2017, and Barra said that sometime next year, GM will already offer vehicles with “Super Cruise”. This is a technology that allows for “hands off/feet off” freeway driving. She said that the Cadillac CT6 actually will be the first vehicle to offer the new tech.

Michigan governor, Rick Snyder, already signed off on preliminary autonomous vehicle regulations. One such law allows for “on-demand autonomous ride-sharing without a driver.” This is a huge step in early lawmaking related to the technology. It could mean that Michigan will be one of the first states to adopt such policy. GM is already in the process of setting up autonomous ride-sharing services, partnered with Lyft.

GM’s executive chief engineer of global electric and autonomous vehicles, Pam Fletcher, concluded:

“The challenge is for consumers to believe one of the world’s largest manufacturers can design and innovate such technology. Hopefully, being early on road testing will convey that yes, they can and are innovating.”

Source: The Detroit News

Categories: Chevrolet

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26 Comments on "Autonomous Chevrolet Bolts Will Be Produced/Tested In Michigan On Public Roads Within A Few Months"

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” Mary Barra, announced that GM will be the first major automaker to build a fully autonomous vehicle prototype..”
I guess she’s never heard of Tesla.

I’m actually asking since I’m not sure – does Tesla have a fully autonomous vehicle yet?

I’m skeptical GM can beat Tesla to the punch though… their SuperCruise is behind schedule. Autopilot far ahead of the competition.

I’ve seen some advanced autopilot videos that seem to perform much better on city streets than current autopilot. But do these count as fully autonomous?

The last video I saw from Tesla shows one of it’s vehicles navigating surface streets with zero driver input.

Okay, yeah I have seen the same videos. 🙂

I was not sure if this was a next stage of autopilot, or if this was their first step towards a fully autonomous vehicle. After a google search, it looks like this video is an in-between step.

“It will reach level 3 autonomy in the coming months and level 4 and 5 should follow for full autonomy by 2018 – but again, in vehicles produced today in 2016.”

But since all current Tesla’s have the hardware for full autonomy, this might be considered a “fully autonomous vehicle prototype” in the early stages? But the software is just a work in progress.

Strange grey area since the companies are taking different approaches.

Tesla never built a “Self Driving Prototype”. They tested new sensor suites on older vehicles until they were happy with the sensor selection. Then put the new sensor suite into production vehicles.

Tesla is using those new production vehicles to validate and improve the software. So software is prototype, but the hardware is production.

GM is going the safer route and sticking to vehicles built for engineering development of self driving as their specific purpose. They will take the results of that testing to determine the final production solutions for self driving.

I would say from an engineering perspective Tesla’s approach is the best. From a cost and risk perspective GM’s approach is better. Exactly what you would expect from incumbent vs. startup.

Seems like an accurate summary of both approaches to me, Josh!

Tesla has not shown a class 4-5 (fully autonomous) prototype yet.

But I guess this refers only to prototypes of production cars? Meaning cars that will be built some day? Because Audi has shown fully autonomous non-production intent prototypes years ago.

Are you saying the new Tesla hardware isn’t capable? Or maybe you didn’t see Tesla’s announcement a couple months ago?

It remains to be seen if Tesla can deliver full autonomy without LIDAR. As far as I know they’re the only one trying.

They may need LIDAR and car to car communication. So far it is not autonomous just updating software will not make it so.

I do say Tesla’s hardware isn’t capable. But I didn’t say it in this case.

I said they haven’t shown a class 4-5 car. And that includes that demo you link to. That demo is a good demo, but it doesn’t mean the car is showing full class 4-5 functionality there.

I agree with both of you, but GM hasn’t shown it either. My point is both companies claim to have L 4/5 hardware now.

Claiming and commercial products is what we are going to watch unfold over the next few years.

The Tesla video was a demo. It’s a long way from demo to fully autonomous car. GM has done similar (internal) demos for a while. Google did almost one five years ago:

“fully autonomous vehicle” doesn’t mean one that can crash into semi across the road or a big orange sweeper over half of of the lane under any circumstances. Although I don’t know what exactly Mary Barra means by “fully autonomous vehicle prototype” and what stage competitors will reach by that time, but these words should mean something better than Russian Roulette that is safe most of the time, though not always.

Tesla is not claiming to have a fully autonomous car, not even as a prototype.

So far as I know, only Google has prototypes without driver controls operating on public streets. But the functionality of those is rather limited, since (at least according to reports) Google’s self-driving cars are speed-limited to driving at no more than 25 or 35 MPH.

At least Tesla’s semi-autonomous cars will operate on highways, up to normal highway speeds (reportedly maxing out at 88 MPH. Great Scott!).

“GM will be the first major automaker to build a….”

I know that it will annoy people here but a lot of people don’t consider Tesla to be a “major” automaker. They still are a pretty small opreation.

Did you miss the word “major”? At <100K vehicles/year, Tesla isn't yet a major automaker. I don't think that's in dispute.

Important automaker? For sure, and quite possibly dragging many/most of the others along. But not major.
They're not _yet_ a large carmaker by any definition except stock valuation, which is the least relevant. Things may change within a few years, but until they do, facts are facts.

Hmmm… ‘first major’, eh? OK. Makes one wonder what constitutes a ‘major’, though. If not market capitalization, then number of units produced, perhaps? Fair enough, I guess. GM is one of only four traditional automobile manufacturers to have broken the 10,000,000 unit annual milestone for worldwide sales. The others are Toyota, Ford, and Volkswagen. Longstanding brands such as Honda, Nissan, Subaru, and Volvo just don’t make the cut.

Interesting anecdote, though? The Tesla Model S has outsold every passenger car offered by Cadillac, along with two Buicks, and some Chevrolet vehicles through the first 11 months of 2016 in the U.S. How many more of GM’s vehicles does Tesla have to outsell before they are considered a ‘major’? Is it truly necessary to outsell them all, in combined totals?

GM Passenger Cars Outsold by Tesla Model S*
____6524 _ Buick Cascada
___18524 _ Buick Regal
___19213 _ Cadillac ATS
____7876 _ Cadillac CT6
___14214 _ Cadillac CTS
_____531 _ Cadillac ELR
___19042 _ Cadillac XTS
_____897 _ Chevrolet Caprice PPV
____2919 _ Chevrolet SS
___21048 _ Chevrolet VOLT
___ *YTD through November 2016

Yeah. The Model S has moved 23,856 units in the U.S. year-to-date through the November 2016.

“One such law allows for “on-demand autonomous ride-sharing without a driver.”
This is the more interesting part here (it will be hard to modify that law in a way that requires stealerships to run the ride-share business in Michigan.

So here is a tricky regulation question to follow on from this article…

Say an autonomous ride sharing vehicle picked up a commuter in Detroit and delivered them across the Canadian boarder in Windsor. Should the vehicle be able to return unmanned?

No. It must stop at the border and call a taxi.

“We want to make sure we have safe and reliable autonomous vehicles on the road.”
Well that’s a switch.

Oh I get it now, they qualified their statement by saying autonomous, so it’s okay to make unsafe cars as long as they are not autonomous.


GM has named its autonomous driving test car (cars?) after an awkward mash-up (or compromise) between reptile and mammal?

Apparently GM has more of a sense of humor than I thought! 😀

CR called it a tall-box but I would call it an econo-box. Even better, what they really mean and couldn’t call it, is a sh*t-box. What really impresses me about the Bolt is it’s roomy and stylish interior. Not. It’s heated seats and steering wheel. Not. It’s 10.2″ screen. Not. It’s head turning exterior. Not. It’s performance and handling. Not. I can go on and on but there’s no point. It’s almost 2017 and GM engineered an 1980 Yugo with a large battery pack and autonomy (GM is preparing its owners to accept a Bolt EV that can only go 143 miles when the eight-year warranty period is up. At least, that’s what the Bolt EV’s owners manual is saying. If GM wants to sell me an econo-box give me a Bolt with 100 mile range at $20K for the city and I might consider it. This product is just a disappointment!

A little tough on the there Con! Hey at least GM was first!