GM will pump $100 million into its self-driving auto production


Today General Motors announced plans to commercial product its Cruise AV.

To be called Cruise AV, the model will enter production soon at the Orion Township plant, in time for the market launch in 2019.

General Motors Co said on Thursday it will invest more than $100 million in two facilities as it prepares to build production versions of its Cruise self-driving vehicle next year at its Orion Township assembly plant in MI.

The vehicles will be produced at GM's Orion Township assembly plant, while the rooftop sensors that allow the auto to "see" its surroundings will be manufactured at its Brownstown plant. The production version of the Cruise AV will be given its driving instructions via a touchscreen in the dashboard, and will have no steering wheel, pedals, and other manual controls. The other six are North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Nevada.

While companies from Google to Apple, Uber to Telsa are all working on self-driving vehicles, GM, a storied American automaker, is pushing heavily into autonomous technology. The list includes downtown San Francisco, as well as Scottsdale, Arizona and Warren, Michigan.

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"The UAW is committed to preparing our members for the future of advanced mobility and this investment recognizes our willingness to work together to build these self-driving vehicles", Cindy Estrada, vice president and director for the UAW's GM department, said in a statement.

GM said earlier the automaker had asked NHTSA to allow 16 alterations to existing vehicle safety rules - such as having an airbag in what would normally be the driver's seat, but without a steering wheel - to enable the deployment of the Cruise AV. For reasons known only to them, GM managers call next year's Cruise the fourth-generation, after building only 200 units since research began in 2017.

The Orion plant will continue to build the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic as well as the Cruise AV.

GM said that this announcement has no impacts on jobs.