GM to build, test thousands of self-driving cars with Lyft partnership

That $500 million investment makes much more sense.

Mar 3, 2017, 2:25 pm*

Tech

Samantha Grasso 

Samantha Grasso

Photo via Pkg203/Wikimedia Commons

Thousands of self-driving Chevy Bolts will hit the streets for testing beginning in 2018 as part of a General Motors partnership with ride-hailing company Lyft, according to a report from Reuters.

According to the report, most of these vehicles will be used by Lyft to be tested in ride-sharing fleets across several states with no plans for consumer sales in the immediate future. 

GM has yet to announce these plans itself—the reports come from anonymous sources familiar with the operation. Rumors surrounding the partnership between Lyft and GM stirred last year after GM invested $500 million in the company specifically for self-driving car development. 

At the time, Lyft was reportedly testing Chevy Bolts in San Francisco. According to the Reuters report, about 40 Chevy Bolts are being tested in the city and in Scottsdale, Arizona, with plans to expand testing to Detroit.

GM’s plans are anticipated to be the largest test of self-driving vehicles by any car manufacturer before 2020, and if executed, they will surpass rollout numbers and dates of other self-driving competitors. Waymo, formerly Google‘s self-driving project, is currently testing 60 prototypes, according to Reuters. Ford also plans to build self-driving vehicles in late 2020 and deploy them the following year.

That doesn’t mean Lyft and GM are completely ahead of the game, however. According to the Verge, GM’s cars recorded a short 10,000 miles last year compared to Waymo’s 635,000. And last year, Uber began testing self-driving Ford Fusion hybrids in Pittsburgh.

“We do not provide specific details on potential future products or technology rollout plans,” GM told Reuters in a statement. “We have said that our AV technology will appear in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than you might think.”

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*First Published: Feb 18, 2017, 4:56 pm