GM can’t stay out of the news as of late. They’ve been turning heads with their release of the Bolt EV while keeping the hype going with talks of selling their European brands to the PSA Group. Lately, they’ve also been taking off with their partner, Lyft, to create driverless fleets for the future. Recent developments show the relationship between the two companies could jumpstart the development of autonomous Bolt EVs, putting GM right in Tesla’s niche for the future.
According to a report from Reuters, GM wants to roll out thousands of autonomous Bolt EVs by 2018. This would be a substantial move for both GM and Lyft, making it the largest self-driving fleet released before 2020. By getting their fingers on the segment’s pulse early, they can help to set the pace for other automakers in the future. Although their partnership has been one of the most popular as of late, they are far from the only ones as Chrysler and Honda are paired up with Waymo in addition to Volvo and Mercedes-Benz‘ team with Uber.
As of now, this production of self-driving Bolts will be strictly available to Lyft. Official plans for a publicly sold autonomous Bolt haven’t been announced yet, but such news could surface as a result of the company’s endeavors with the ride-hailing service. “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,” GM said in a statement. The automaker has already been testing driverless Bolts in Arizona, California, and Michigan, establishing grounds for future trials. Expect to see these numbers grow significantly in the next year or so, putting them in full force in preparation for Lyft duties.
Expect GM and Lyft to push this project as fast as they can. The sooner they hit the streets with these units, the faster they’ll be able to establish a presence in the segment. In a category where everyone is thirsty for first blood, it could catapult them to the front on what will be an ever-changing leaderboard.