General Motors plans to test thousands of driverless cars in 2018

Thousands of modified Chevrolet Bolt cars may hit the roads next year, as part of a major deployment by General Motors to test its self-driving system on public roads.

GM, along with ridesharing app Lyft, will test the cars and possibly pick up members of the public, similar to Uber’s self-driving program in Pennsylvania and Arizona, according to a report from Reuters.

The program will supposedly be split between Lyft and GM’s car-sharing service, Maven.

The deployment of thousands of self-driving vehicles on public roads may improve the public’s perception of the technology. It could also boost GM’s standing in the self-driving industry, where it is currently perceived as behind Google’s Waymo, Tesla, and Uber.

GM has not commented on the report, Lyft also declined to comment.

GM has made a few major moves to ensure it does not fall behind in the self-driving race, including the near $1 billion acquisition of Cruise Automation, the $500 million paid for a minority stake in Lyft, and new billion dollar research facilities.

See Also: General Motors begins self-driving tests on Michigan public roads

Even with these major investments, GM has yet to show the same levels of progress and sophistication that its self-driving rivals are capable of. It does, however, have a few dozen Chevrolet Bolt cars on San Francisco roads, which are reaching Level 3 autonomy.

GM has not been as detailed in its plans for the future as Ford and Tesla, who have both said they want to achieve Level 4 autonomy in the next few years. This major deployment of test cars could be a signal that GM wants to remove humans from the driving experience, replacing car ownership with rental and taxi services.

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