GM to Start Producing Self-Driving Vehicles at Orion Township Plant

Within a few months, testing will expand to metro Detroit, the company announced Dec. 15.

The ink had barely dried on the bill Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed allowing self-driving vehicles on the state's roads when General Motors announced it would immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads and that it will build the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017.

"Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today's announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality," said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said Dec. 15. "Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles."

The company's announcement said testing is already underway at GM's Technical Center campus in Warren, Mich., and with the signing of the SAVE Act, the testing will expand to public roads on the facility's outskirts and then, within the next few months, to metro Detroit, which will become GM's main location for development of autonomous technology in winter climates.

Workers at the Orion Township assembly plant will build test fleet Bolt EVs equipped with fully autonomous technology. The plant currently manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic. New equipment for the self-driving vehicles will include LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware designed to ensure system safety; the test fleet vehicles will be used by GM engineers for continued testing and validation of GM's autonomous technology that is already underway on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz.

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