A few Chevy Bolt EVs have been spotted on San Francisco roads suggesting that General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is already testing them out ahead of the official production which is expected to commence in October.
The vehicles were spotted by a firm called SpiedBilde which specializes in prototype vehicle photography. The images of the Chevy Bolt prototypes were first published on The Verge. The photos of the vehicles reveal sensors on the roof, thus suggesting that General Motors is testing self-driving technology in the vehicles. This means that the vehicles will be carrying people without the need for a driver possibly as soon as next year.
Cruise Automation co-founder Kyle Vogt was seen in one of the cars that were being tested. His firm was recently acquired by GM for $1 billion. Vogt appears to have maintained his involvement in the technology even after the acquisition. GM has been working on autonomous vehicle technology for years, and the firm believes that the technology will play a major role in the future of automobiles.
Authorities at the firm have selected the Chevy Bolt as the vehicle that is best suited for the technology as well as ride-sharing. GM also appears to be serious about ride-sharing considering the $500 million it invested in the car-pooling startup, Lyft. GM aims to create a network of autonomous vehicles within Lyft so that it can carry passengers around town without necessitating a driver. It aims to join some of the other vehicle manufacturers who want to engage in the business of carpooling to attract customers that do not have their own automobiles.
The vehicle that the company revealed at CES earlier this year did not have sensors, but it is now clear that the Cruise Automation team is now working on changing the situation. The automaker’s spokesman is yet to reveal any details about the project. The company’s new business unit is known as Maven, and it will bring various test programs in GM under one brand.