It seems that the countdown concerning the elimination of drivers has already started, as General Motors has announced it will start manufacturing the Cruise AV autonomous car at its Orion Township plant in Michigan starting next year.
The U.S. automaker built the Cruise AV from the ground up, and it designed it from the onset to operate without a driver, steering wheel, pedals or any other form of controls. As a first step, GM will invest over $100 million into its production.
“We’re continuing to make great progress on our plans to commercialize in 2019,” said GM president Dan Ammann. “Our Orion and Brownstone teams have proven experience in building high-quality self-driving test vehicles and battery packs, so they are well-prepared to produce the Cruise AV.”
Details on the Bolt EV-based vehicle are still scarce, although we can clearly see that whoever sits in either of the two front seats will have direct access to the car’s climate control system and audio system via physical buttons.
So far, more than 200 test vehicles have been assembled at the Orion plant, with the help of workers from GM’s Brownstone Battery Assembly Plant as well, which is responsible for the roof module, which boasts LiDAR, cameras, sensors and other self-driving hardware.