More and more car-making companies – and tech companies as well – are getting into the autonomous driving business, and the latest news in the field comes from General Motors.
The multinational corporation has started testing two self-driving vehicles in San Francisco after it purchased Cruise Automation earlier this year.
If you live in the city of the Golden Bridge, you might have spotted the two Chevrolet Bolt Electric vehicles running around with their sensors and gear strapped to the roof – the tell-tale sign of any vehicle in autonomous testing.
While the Bolt cars are interesting in themselves, what is also interesting is the fact that GM doesn’t seem eager to call attention to its project. Even though the cars have been photographed and talked about in blog posts and news sites, the Detroit officials have chosen to stay quiet, not offering any interviews or quotes.
At the same time, a visit to the website of San Francisco-based Cruise Automation will reveal images of the Bolts plastered all over the homepage. It seems that General Motors wants to keep the story of its research in Silicon Valley and in the tech realm – not so much in the Detroit area.
By the end of 2017, GM hopes to get autonomous taxis into the car fleet of Lyft; so far, the automaker has invested $500 million in the ride-hailing service.
But more than anything else, GM’s aim is to position the Bolt and its autonomous program in the same league as Tesla’s or Google’s, but with more expertise and the ability to produce and service customers in mass numbers.
The Chevy Bolt holds plenty of GM’s hopes to put its stake in the ground in the EV (electric vehicle) category, providing the market with a vehicle that runs more than 200 miles on a charge.
At the same time, the Bolt is supposed to claim some of the spotlight that is disproportionately going to Tesla in the field of autonomous driving and affordable EV.
And General Motors might just have a way to get there, seeing that Tesla is a bit in over its head, with not enough experience and resources in building cars at a large scale – at least not large enough to satisfy the 373,000 clients who paid deposits of $1,000 each for a car.
Image Source: For Your Imagination