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GM President announces “hypothetical” fleet of self-driving cars in Austin


Just weeks after GM announced a $500 million investment in car-sharing company Lyft, the company says that it expects the first self-driving cars to be use for ride-sharing application instead of direct ownership. General Motors President Dan Ammann made the comment to Mashable at the Detroit Auto Show this week. 

Mashable reported that Ammann said:

“The first mainstream deployment of autonomous vehicles won’t be to customers but to a ride-share platform […] we’re going to have a car that operates only in downtown Austin that has a maximum speed of 30 mph and operates in controlled conditions.”

But the publication later updated its report saying:

“GM later clarified Amman was speaking hypothetically rather than announcing a real plan.”

Oddly specific for a hypothetical situation, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The concept he described sounded like a natural evolution of GM’s program announced last year to deploy a fleet of autonomous Volts that will be made available in late 2016 for GM employees to reserve through a new car-sharing app and drive around the company’s Warren Technical Center campus in Michigan.

Of course, there’s a big difference between operating an autonomous fleet on private propriety and in downtown Austin.

In the meantime, GM is expected to implement a new driver assist system similar to Tesla’s Autopilot called “Super-Cruise”. The system was first supposed ship in the 2017 Cadillac CT6 later this year, but the company mentioned at the Detroit Auto Show this week that it will not be ready for the launch of the 2017 CT6.

Featured image: 2016 Volt courtesy of GM.


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