General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced on Thursday that the company will start building autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric cars in 2017.
“Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality,” Barra said. “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.”
GM has been testing its self driving cars at its Technical Center just outside Detroit, but Michigan recently passed legislation allowing for these autonomous to be tested on public roads.
The auto giant’s assembly plant in Orion township, which is about an hour from GM’s Detroit headquarters, will be building these autonomous Chevy Sparks. The plant currently builds the Chevy Spark and the Chevy Bolt electric car.
In a speech at GM’s headquarters, Barra stated, “We expect that GM will become the first high-volume auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles in a mass-production assembly plant.”
In order to make the Bolts autonomous, technology like radar, laser sensors and cameras will be added to them. Testing of these vehicles will also take place in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.
GM recently acquired an autonomous driving technology company called Cruise Automation. They have also invested in the ride-sharing company Lyft, where they plan to integrate their autonomous vehicles once they are complete.