General Motors will reportedly team up with the ride-sharing company Lyft to test thousands of self-driving electric cars. Two sources who are very familiar with the United States automaker's plans shared the news last week. The tests would likely be the largest test of fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) of a major carmaker before 2020.
Many car companies have plans to mass-produce AVs by then. They include the Google spin-off Waymo that is now testing around 60 robotic cars in four US states, according to Reuters. Alphabet's new company was hitherto known as the Google Self-Driving Car project before mid-December 2016.
San Francisco-based Lyft will use most of the customized versions of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV). One source shared that the company will test the AVs in its ride-sharing fleet in many states.
GM's self-driving program is run by the auto giant's Cruise Automation unit. It tests Bolts that are equipped with radar, laser LIDAR sensors, and an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled on-board computing system. GM bought Cruise for $581 million last year.
The source also shared that GM has no plans to sell the self-driving Bolts to individual consumers. GM, however, has not made any official announcements about its plans for the "Bolt AV."
The carmaker said in a statement on Feb. 17, Friday that the company does not provide details on possible future products or tech rollouts. It noted that it has only said the company's AV technology will show up in an on-demand ride sharing network and not in the distant future.
GM executives have stated in interviews and presentations during the past year that they have plans to mass produce autonomous cars and deploy them for ride-sharing services. They have not yet revealed any details.
GM's main US rivals also have plans to build AVs. Ford Motor has shared it has plans to build the automaker's first self-driving vehicles at a suburban Detroit factory sometime in late 2020. It has also invested $1 billion to develop AI for AVs, according to Forbes.
Fiat Chrysler, meanwhile, has provided some Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Waymo. The Silicon Valley company will convert them to self-driving vehicles.
Here's a video of a 2017 Chevy Bolt test drive: