General Motors is one of over a dozen companies currently testing autonomous vehicles and systems on the streets of California. But as GM pushes forwards with developing technology which will define the next-generation of vehicles, it’s decided to have a little bit of fun.
Currently, General Motors has 20 self-driving Chevrolet Bolts and five autonomous Nissan Leafs testing throughout California via its subsidiary Cruise Automation, and in its annual report, has detailed all of the curious names of its prototypes.
If you’re wondering why GM is also testing Leafs, that’s because, as reported by Jalopnik, San Fransisco-based Cruise Automation that retrofits cars with autonomous tech was bought out by the Detroit carmaker in March 2016, but up until then, it was apparently using Nissans.
All of the autonomous Bolts are named after animals and include Polarbear, Cheetah, Lynx, Platypus, Mongoose, Redwolf, Penguin, Numbat, Wombat, Tamarin and Albatross. As for the Nissan Leafs, they’re named Scarlet, Quicksilver, Ironman, Gargoyle and Storm.
Although it may seem strange to identify each of the prototypes by such curious names, a company spokesman recently told The Verge that the names were created to help identify each of the self-driving Bolts as all are painted white.
“The team at Cruise [GM’s autonomous driving subsidiary] decided early on to name the vehicles as opposed to numbering them,” a company spokesperson explained in an email. “It makes it easier to identify the Bolt [electric vehicles] in the garage, especially since all of them were the same color (white).”
In the annual report, General Motors says that these autonomous vehicles drove a total of 9,776 miles in California last year. Many of the prototypes only operated for a few months last year, a couple of which traveled less than 5 miles per month. Additionally, seven of the Chevy Bolts only hit the streets in November last year.