General Motors will start its own autonomous car testing project in the United States with a fleet of Chevrolet Volts in late 2016.
The news was announced during GM investor conference at its Milford Proving Ground in Michigan today and was one of several alternative transportation projects revealed by the company.
The Volts will drive autonomously within GM’s Warren Technical Centre campus, also in Michigan. The company’s employees will be able to reserve a Volt using a car-sharing app, then select a destination. GM’s autonomous technology will drive the vehicle to its destination and park it.
GM said the project “will serve as a rapid-development laboratory to help accelerate our technical capabilities in autonomous vehicles”.
As an interim step towards autonomous transportation, the manufacturer’s ‘Super Cruise’ semi-autonomous driving technology will be available on next year’s Cadillac CT6.
Super Cruise, which has been in development since 2012, is capable of semi-automated driving, including hands-off lane following, braking and speed control under certain driving conditions.
The system is designed to ease the driver’s workload in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long motorway road trips, but the driver’s attention is still required.
GM chief executive officer Mary Barra said, “The convergence of rapidly improving technology and changing consumer preferences is creating an inflection point for the transportation industry not seen in decades.
“Some might find this massive change to be daunting, but we look at it and see the opportunity to be a disruptor. We believe our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity is fundamental to our quest to redefine the future of personal mobility.”
During the investor conference GM also unveiled an electric bike concept. The eBike was designed and engineered at GM’s engineering and development centre in Oshawa, Ontario to “help people stay mobile in an increasingly difficult-to-navigate urban landscape”.
GM is also putting more resources into car sharing. It is setting up two new car-sharing projects - one in New York City and the other in another US city, yet to be identified. The projects will “test hardware and software systems and gain insights into car-sharing user experiences”.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: