The future of the transportation industry seems set to be built on the backs of autonomous vehicles, with iconic automotive firms such as Volvo, Ford, Chevy, and Tesla investing heavily in the technology. While carmakers have taken significant steps towards a fully self-driving future, it appears that Chevy has managed to achieve the most progress.
Chevy has been hard at work with Cruise, a driverless car startup that it acquired last year, in order to create a fully autonomous version of the Chevy Bolt EV, the carmaker’s main contender against the highly prolific Tesla Model 3. The Chevy Bolt EV has done quite well on the market, with reviewers lauding the vehicle for its performance and its long range.
With Cruise’s technology, however, the Chevy Bolt EV becomes even better. So far, Cruise has gone through three iterations of its self-driving vehicle, with the third generation practically ready for mass production. In an announcement on Medium, Cruise CEO and founder Kyle Vogt described the vehicle as a full-featured car with all the comforts of a traditional vehicle.
“Today, we’re unveiling the world’s first mass-producible car designed to operate without a driver. This isn’t just a concept design — it has airbags, crumple zones, and comfortable seats.”
Even more important than the vehicle’s comfort and ease of use, however, is its capability to be produced at a massive scale. So far, mass production has been the problem with technologically advanced EVs. In the Tesla Model 3’s case, for example, designing the car and getting orders were no problem; it was mass-producing the vehicle that posed the real challenge.
— Joshua Robbin Marks (@envirojourno) September 16, 2017
This would not be a problem for Chevy and Cruise, however, as the self-driving car startup has been given full access to one of GM’s facilities, according to an AutoBlog report. This, according to the Cruise CEO, would enable the startup and the carmaker to manufacture fully self-driving Chevy Bolt EVs at a large scale.
“It’s assembled in a high-volume assembly plant capable of producing 100,000’s of vehicles per year, and we’d like to keep that plant busy.”
Cruise has made a lot of efforts in ensuring that its fully autonomous version of the Chevy Bolt EV would be one of the safest cars on the road. Over the course of the three iterations of the car, Cruise has near-perfected its self-driving technologies, with the CEO stating that the EV’s systems are equipped with backup after backup programs to handle any incidents on the road.
While the 3rd Generation of Cruise’s autonomous Chevy Bolt EV is practically ready for mass-production, Vogt also stated that more iterations of the self-driving vehicle would still be launched in the near future. Thus, while the technology is near-perfect and the EV is already available, the actual mass production of fully self-driving Chevy Bolt EV units might still take some time.
[Featured Image by Steve Lagreca/Shutterstock]