General Motors has committed to building its upcoming self-driving cars in Michigan, and that's awesome. It has also committed to investing more than $100 million at its Orion Township and Brownstone plants, both of which will be responsible forand Cruise roof module production.
In case you forgot, thewill be the first production vehicle designed from the beginning as an autonomous car. It has no provisions for driver control, meaning no steering wheel or pedals. GM hopes to bring it to market in 2019, though it's unclear if the technology and indeed, the legal system, will be ready by then.
"We're continuing to make great progress on our plans to commercialize in 2019," said GM President Dan Ammann. "Our Orion and Brownstown teams have proven experience in building high-quality self-driving test vehicles and battery packs, so they are well-prepared to produce the Cruise AV."
The Orion Township plant has, to date, produced more than 200 Cruise test vehicles, so the workers there are intimately familiar with the ins and outs of building a self-driving car. Those 200 cars that make up the Cruise test fleet have been racking up miles all over the US, including major city centers as well as suburbs, both of which create unique challenges for a driverless car.
"The United Auto Workers Union 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," said Cindy Estrada, vice president and director, UAW General Motors Department. "Whether it involves traditional vehicles or advanced technology, our members are highly capable of delivering great products."
In addition to the Cruise AV, the Orion Township plant manufactures the Bolt EV and the Chevrolet Sonic.