Last year, General Motors (GM) and San Francisco-based ride-sharing company Lyft announced a partnership that will now create a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles to be on the roads by 2018.
According to sources privy to the automaker’s plans, GM will be testing thousands of automated Bolt hatchbacks with its ride-sharing affiliate, Lyft. Should plans push forward, this will be the largest test of fully autonomous vehicles any company has undertaken. In contrast, Google’s self-driving project, Waymo, is currently testing 60 prototypes across four states.
Because of this partnership with Lyft, it doesn't seem like GM has plans to sell this self-driving electric vehicle to customers and they might instead just use them for Lyft’s ride-sharing service, which operates across several states. But, either way, replacing regular cars with autonomous vehicles could save lives. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman has predicted that autonomous vehicles could save approximately 32,000 lives every year.
It should be noted that the sources who shared these plans requested anonymity given that GM nor Lyft has not released actual details about the project.
While Lyft has declined to comment on the matter, GM has officially said in a statement that: "We do not provide specific details on potential future products or technology rollout plans. We have said that our AV technology will appear in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than you might think."
So, while these electric, autonomous vehicles won't be available for individual purchase, the creation of an environmentally-friendly, self-driving ride-sharing option could be a step in the right direction.