GM And Lyft May Launch Autonomous Technology In Test Bolts In 2018
Technology has evolved and can now be seen in self-driving groups of vehicles may be sharing the roads with human drivers sooner than many of us predicted. Beginning in 2018, General Motors will field thousands of self-driving technology-based electric test vehicles, primarily based on the Chevy Bolt platform, Reuters reported. According to the report, the fleets of cars will mainly be used with partner Lyft for on-demand ride-hailing service technology.
This is much sooner than the anticipated 2020 date Ford and others have been aiming for large-scale deployment of self driving vehicle groups in similar ride-sharing functions. The report calls this a launch of “test fleets,” so these cars will still likely not be positioned as a commercial debut of a service, but it sounds like we may still see them in active service with customers, since Lyft is said to be planning to operate them in a test capacity in multiple states among its ride-sharing service fleet.
General Motors has said in the past that it intends to start piloting its self-driving vehicle technology in ride-sharing services “sooner than you might think.” The company has also been sharing periodic updates from GM-owned Cruise, which is actively testing autonomous Bolt EVs driving city streets in San Francisco, as well as in Arizona, with plans to expand to Michigan roads soon.
In the course of testing its Cruise fleet, General Motors has made use of a smartphone app that allows a user to choose a beginning and end point for the trip, and it’s very likely we’ll see similar technology used in any consumer-facing trials at a larger scale. In May of 2016, General Motors and Lyft previously discussed plans to begin testing self-driving taxi service on public roads “within a year.”
Lyft rival Uber also announced that Daimler would be the first automaker joining its so-called self-driving vehicle platform, which is open to all OEMs and will allow them to operate fleets of their own autonomous cars on Uber’s network for ride-hailing services. The tie-up between Lyft and General Motors has seemed a more exclusive arrangement, and it looks likely to stay that way at least through this test period, if this report is accurate.