Chevrolet will build thousands of autonomous Bolt EVs, report says

If it happens, it would be the largest self-driving deployment of its kind.

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Andrew Krok
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has not been shy about its autonomous ambitions, but it's about to get really ambitious with an alleged plan to roll out thousands of self-driving cars in the near future.

General Motors will produce thousands of autonomous Bolt EVs in a partnership with Lyft , Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. If it really does scale up its rollout to this magnitude, it'd be the largest test of its type. Most automakers have self-driving test fleets in the single or double digits.

GM Autonomous Bolt EV Testing Michigan
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GM Autonomous Bolt EV Testing Michigan

All that self-driving hardware may not be pretty, but it gets the job done.

General Motors

Many vehicles produced for this test would go to Lyft's ride-sharing fleets across the country, the report claims, where the cars could be tested in real-world situations. There does not appear to be any intent on providing these cars to the public beyond what a rider might encounter when calling for a Lyft. Most states do not even have a regulatory framework in place for autonomous vehicles.

Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. General Motors said it had nothing to add, but in a statement delivered to Reuters, the company said, "We have said that our AV technology will appear in an on-demand ride-sharing network application sooner than you might think."

GM has invested heavily in Lyft. The automaker invested $500 million in the company known for its pink mustaches, and it raided the remnants of another ride-sharing startup in order to bolster Lyft's offerings. The two have been close partners ever since the investment.

In early December 2016, Michigan signed into law a series of bills regulating the development and eventual sale of autonomous vehicles. Shortly thereafter, GM announced that it would build and test autonomous Bolt EVs locally. Lyft competitor Uber also said it would build an autonomous research center in Michigan, which is good, because it's not on the best of terms with California.

Watch this: On the road: 2017 Bolt EV