General Motors announced today that it would spend $ 100 million to start making production versions of its electric automotive Chevy Bolts at two of its manufacturing plants in Michigan. The cars, which GM calls the "Cruise AV", will be the first car ready for production of the automaker built from scratch to operate without steering wheel, pedals or manual controls.
The vehicles will be produced at GM's Orion Township assembly plant, while the rooftop sensors that allow the car to "see" its surroundings will be manufactured at its Brownstown plant. GM says it will invest more than $ 100 million to update both facilities. Production of the roof module has already begun and production of the fourth-generation Cruise AV is expected to begin in 2019.
"We continue to make great progress in our marketing plans in 2019."
"We continue to make great progress in our marketing plans in 2019," GM president Dan Ammann said in a statement. "Our Orion and Brownstown teams have proven experience in building test vehicles and high-quality battery packs, so they are well prepared to produce Cruise AV."
The news comes on the same day that Ford, the rival automaker, plans to announce a major update to its product strategy, which may include some news about the company's self-driving plans. The timing of GM's announcement was not lost on some automotive reporters.
Continues the epic Ford trolling of General Motors. Within hours of the latest update of Ford's product strategy, GM issues a new car ad without a driver, with an investment of $ 100 million at the Orion Township plant: pic.twitter.com/Uqd6wH9x13- Peter Campbell (@ Petercampbell1) March 15, 2018
It also comes a day after a story in The Information cast doubt on GM's plan to deploy autonomous taxis in major cities by 2019. The cars being tested in San Francisco are often confused by traffic situations and occasionally they are involved in minor accidents. GM said it was still fine-tuning its stand-alone management software.
The news that GM will manufacture its cars without a driver in Michigan is not exactly new. Last June, the company said it had completed the first batch of Chevy Bolts prototypes at its Orion assembly plant.
GM's efforts to become an autonomous "full stack" automotive company, with the ability to control all aspects of manufacturing and technological development. It has acquired a number of new companies, including Cruise Automation and the company LIDAR Strobe, to help achieve this goal. This, in turn, has helped fuel the increase in GM shares, which has risen 15.4 percent since May of last year. Experts say that the company is currently leading the race to bring automated driving to the public.