General Motors is about to reap the benefits of its $US581 million purchase of Cruise Automation.
Cruise said Monday that it’s ready to mass produce a self-driving car. For now, Cruise has built 50 cars that will give rides to its employees in San Francisco. A driver will still sit behind the wheel, but Cruise said the car is capable of driving entirely on its own.
“Today, we’re unveiling the world’s first mass-producible car designed to operate without a driver,” Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said in a Medium post. “This isn’t just a concept design — it has airbags, crumple zones, and comfortable seats. It’s assembled in a high-volume assembly plant capable of producing 100,000’s of vehicles per year, and we’d like to keep that plant busy.”
The car will be built at GM’s plant in Orion, Michigan, using parts from the Chevrolet Bolt. It will have a steering wheel and redundancy systems in place in case of tech failures.
The news means GM is ready to start mass producing self-driving cars once the regulatory environment gives it the go-ahead.
Self-driving legislation is starting to take shape. The House recently passed a bill that would allow for the eventual deployment of 100,000 cars per year, but it still has to make its way through the Senate. The Senate will hold a hearing on Wednesday about the deployment of self-driving trucks, kick-starting the debates on self-driving legislation.
In June, GM completed production of 130 self-driving Chevy Bolts for tests in San Francisco, Detroit, and Scottsdale. GM now has 180 self-driving vehicles on the road that have undergone testing since June 2016.
Vogt’s Medium post did not mention Lyft or its future involvement with the production plans.
GM in 2016 invested $US500 million in to create a ride-hailing network for self-driving cars. Lyft has since partnered non-exclusively with several tech companies on self-driving cars, including Google spinoff Waymo.