GM to Build, Test Self-Driving Cars in Michigan

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CARS.COM — GM announced plans to start building “the next generation” of its self-driving test cars at a southeast Michigan assembly plant in early 2017. The Detroit automaker said it also will begin to test self-driving cars on public roads immediately. The announcement comes less than a week after Michigan lawmakers cleared the way for broad testing on self-driving cars.

Related: Uber Brings Self-Driving Fleet to San Fran

GM, whose U.S. brands are Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC, says it is already testing self-driving cars at its tech-center campus in suburban Detroit. With Michigan’s expansive self-driving legislation in the books, the automaker added that it will start testing cars on “public roads on the facility’s outskirts,” then on roads in the Detroit metropolitan area for winter testing. GM’s assembly plant in Lake Orion, Mich., will build the automaker’s test fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EV electric hatchbacks outfitted with self-driving technology — light detection and ranging sensors, cameras and the like.

GM already tests self-driving cars in California and Arizona with a fleet of several dozen self-driving Bolts between the two states. In May, the automaker purchased Cruise Automation, a Silicon Valley company steeped in self-driving tech. That same month, the General also formed a collaboration with ride-hailing company Lyft to develop a network of self-driving cars.

Crosstown rivals Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have thrown their own self-driving gauntlets. Ford announced in September plans to develop a fleet of self-driving Fusion sedans for its employees by 2018. In May, FCA formed a partnership with Google to license self-driving Pacifica minivans for the California tech giant, which could reportedly result in a self-driving ride-hailing service as soon as late 2017.

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