GM Investing $100M in Tooling for Cruise AV, Autonomous Roof Racks

by on Mar.15, 2018

The Cruise AV will be built at the Orion Township, Michigan plant were GM builds the Chevy Bolt EV.

General Motors continues to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to autonomous vehicles, this time to the tune of $100 million.

The company is investing that cash in two Michigan facilities that will build its Cruise AV driverless car as well as the roof modules that contain all of the equipment needed to make the vehicle drive on its own, such as radar, LiDAR, cameras, etc.

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The new Cruise autonomous vehicles will be built at GM’s Orion Township assembly plant, north of Detroit. This makes sense as another self-driving vehicle produced by GM, the Bolt EV, is also built at the plant.

The company is using its Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant in Brownstown Township, Michigm, south of Detroit, which produces lithium ion batteries for GM EVs and hybrids, to build the roof modules. Actually, the site already builds some modules, the investment will help to expand production.

(GM asks feds to OK 2019 launch of autonomous robo-cabs. Click Here for the story.)

The Cruise AV, which the company plans to commercialize in 2019, is the first production-ready vehicle built from the ground up to operate safely on its own with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or manual controls.

GM plans to expand production of its autonomous vehicle roof racks in Michigan.

“We’re continuing to make great progress on our plans to commercialize in 2019,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “Our Orion and Brownstown 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.”

The Orion plant will continue to build the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic as well as the Cruise AV. The Cruise AV may be ready to go next year, but the question of where it will go remains unanswered. The federal government hasn’t given GM the green light to put the car on the road. However, it’s expected to be in a city

(Click Here for more about GM driverless technology plans.)

The Cruise AV is expected to hit the road in 2019 in a yet-to-be-named city where GM will launch a driverless taxi service. GM is still waiting on federal approval for its first autonomous car without a driver, steering wheel or manual controls.

GM filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this year to meet 16 safety requirements mandated by the agency. Since those rules include having actual drivers in the vehicles, the company offered up some alternative methods to meet the obligations “in a different way.”

If and when it gains NHTSA, GM will need to pick a state or two to haggle with to gain approval. There are a limited number of states that would allow the Cruise AV to drive: Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Nevada.

(To see more about GM’s strategies for ride-sharing and driverless tech, Click Here.)

Michigan is a likely target since the vehicles will be assembled there. No word on other preferences for the ongoing testing.

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