General Motors has arrived in San Francisco to test its own self-driving system, using a modified 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. It comes just weeks after GM’s $1 billion acquisition of Cruise Automation, a self-driving startup based in the testing city.
Photos were published online showing two Chevrolet Bolt cars driving in San Francisco, both featuring sensors on the roof that indicate mapping or self-driving testing. Cruise Automation confirmed the tests a few hours later.
Not much is known about the test, other than two Bolt’s are on the streets of San Francisco. General Motors have not said if they plan to expand the autonomous fleet or add other cars to it.
General Motors has invested a lot into the self-driving market in a short space of time. On top of the acquisition, it also invested $500 million into ride-sharing app Lyft to build an autonomous taxi fleet.
Bolt soon to be roll out as Lyft and Uber options?
Lyft and Uber are both looking at the future five years as building blocks for self-driving taxis, but unlike Uber, Lyft has decided to work with a major automaker to expand the platform. In return, cars from General Motors are the top of the list for taxi drivers to lease, and the Chevy Bolt is coming to that list soon.
We don’t know the specifics of the partnership, but from the outside it looks like Lyft will receive autonomous cars from General Motors for free (or at small cost) in return for a share of the profits. Lyft doesn’t appear to be working on the self-driving platform, at least not yet.
Google has been testing autonomous cars in California for years now, clocking over one million miles, so General Motors is far behind the leader. Other companies are in a similar position, Uber just announced tests in Pittsburgh last week. In Europe, automakers may flock to the U.K., after the Queen’s Speech called for the legalization of autonomous cars.