GM has been fleshing out its plans for autonomous driving over the past year and it is becoming clear that they are serious about the technology since their $1 billion acquisition of Cruise Automation.
Now a new report suggests that they plan on deploying a fleet of “thousands of autonomous Chevy Bolt EV with Lyft” as soon as next year.
The report comes from Reuters and it is based on “two sources familiar with the matter”:
“General Motors Co plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in test fleets in partnership with ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc, beginning in 2018, two sources familiar with the automaker’s plans said this week.”
GM invested $500 million in Lyft just over a year ago and has said in the past that self-driving vehicle deployment would start with the ride-sharing service.
Following the report, GM issued a statement:
“We do not provide specific details on potential future products or technology rollout plans. We have said that our AV technology will appear in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than you might think.”
If true, it would be, along with Tesla, among the most aggressive timelines for the commercialization of the technology since most companies working on self-driving cars are targeting to reach the market in 2020-2021.
The report is pretty vague, but it follows requests from GM to use important numbers of radar sensors for testing on public roads, which would indicate the deployment of an important fleet of self-driving cars.
Documents released last year suggested that GM and Lyft are targeting for its first autonomous taxi/ride-sharing service to be in operation by January 2019.
Of course, any commercialization would be dependent on regulatory approval, but several states and countries are currently actively working on testing and approval processes to take self-driving technology from the testing stage to the commercial availability stage.
The auto industry is currently closely following the advent of the technology and how it is tracking with the progress made on the regulatory side of things.
As far as the tech goes, GM seems to be making decent progress. They released an impressive real-world self-driving demo of Cruise’s Bolt EV prototype earlier this month.