Back in January, General Motors announced that it had formed a “long-term strategic alliance” with the ride-sharing company known as Lyft, which involved “joint development of a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles.” Neither company has said much about the alliance in the months since then, but the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the two companies are planning to put a fleet of fully-autonomous and fully-electric Chevrolet Bolts in an unnamed city for testing purposes sometime next year.
Lyft and GM plan on putting self-driving cars into Lyft’s fleet of vehicles by 2017, the Wall Street Journal reports. Fully autonomous, electric Chevrolet Bolts will be zipping around in some undisclosed city, picking up and delivering real Lyft passengers on public roads before you know it. The announcement is a power play in the race to autonomous cars. GM put $500 million into Lyft in January, and bought autonomous car startup Cruise Automation Inc. outright for $1 billion in March. GM is rapidly putting its investments to use, and, if reports are accurate, will be the first company to have commercially used fully autonomous vehicles on the road. Details other than the 2017 target date are fuzzy; which city, the exact date, and whether the company has squared away all the legal problems are yet to be announced. Ride sharing, however, appears to be the place the general public will first encounter autonomous cars. “We will want to vet the autonomous tech between Cruise, GM and ourselves and slowly introduce this into markets,” Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft’s product director, told the Journal.