Ride-hailing service Lyft will use the autonomous vehicles.
The partnership between General Motors and Lyft is about to accelerate dramatically. Reuters reports that by 2018, GM and Lyft will have “thousands” of the self-driving cars on roads. The cars in question will be Chevy Bolt EVs.
GM announced last year it would partner with Lyft to test and develop autonomous vehicles, and it later emerged that the automaker would use its new Bolt electric as the basis for those cars. The automaker said in a statement that the two companies would work on, “The joint development of a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles.”
According to the latest from Reuters, Lyft will deploy a huge fleet of those cars in several different states. GM is already offering the Bolt in its Maven car-sharing service in San Francisco. And the company’s autonomous-technology subsidiary, Cruise Automation, released a video earlier this month showing a Bolt driving itself autonomously around San Francisco.
Lyft’s biggest rival, Uber, is also working on testing self-driving vehicles. Human drivers are one of the biggest expenses and potential liabilities for both companies.
Uber already ran a trial in Pittsburgh, in which a human operator “supervised” a self-driving vehicle while passengers rode. An expansion of the autonomous Ubers to San Francisco didn’t work so well and Uber was banned from the roads there. Uber is working with Volvo to develop its vehicles. The companies currently use modified XC90 crossovers, but will eventually build specific vehicles for autonomous ride-hailing use.