GM Wants to Beat Tesla to the First Mass-Market Autonomous Car Too

There seems to be a two-horse race between General Motors and Tesla at the moment, even though the Detroit-based carmaker is the only one throwing arrows at Elon Musk's company, which appears to be minding its own business.
Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt 5 photos
Photo: General Motors
Autonomous Chevrolet BoltAutonomous Chevrolet BoltAutonomous Chevrolet BoltAutonomous Chevrolet Bolt
GM scored a victory by successfully bringing the Chevrolet Bolt to market ahead of Tesla's Model 3, thus becoming the first company to offer a reasonably priced EV ($37,499 before incentives) capable of traveling more than 200 miles on a single charge (238 miles official EPA rating).

The Bolt may have won GM a battle, but the war is far from over. The battery-powered Chevrolet is scheduled for a rather low production volume, at least in its first years, meaning that Tesla has plenty of time to catch up. And with 400,000 reservations waiting around the corner, the Model 3 is sold in advance for at least one year of production, if not more.

But GM has already put that behind it and is now focusing on another hot topic of the moment: self-driving cars. After acquiring Cruise Automation in March, General Motors started testing its proprietary autonomous driving technology in June using Bolt EVs as lab rats.

With the passing of the SAVE Act legislation that allows autonomous cars to be tested on public roads in Michigan, General Motors is bringing its operation closer to home. In fact, Chevrolet already had testing vehicles inside GM's Technical Center campus in Warren, but now the vehicles will be allowed to roam free wherever they please.

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. “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.”

GM's enthusiasm, however, might be a little exaggerated. Tesla is currently shipping all of its new cars kitted with the hardware it believes will be sufficient to offer them Level 4 autonomy (which means full self-driving capability, but still retaining the controls for the human driver).

The company has suggested on a few occasions it would be ready at any time to roll out a fully-autonomous vehicle, with the only thing holding it back being the legislation. It sure looks like, despite GM's best efforts, Tesla might tie the score in this battle that wages on inside the legacy carmaker's mind.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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