In remarks to the Economic Club in Ottawa, GM Canada president and managing director Steve Carlisle confirmed that its Canadian Engineering Center in Oshawa, Ontario, has been awarded a mandate to play a leading role in the build of autonomous driving vehicles. These vehicles will be part of a test fleet based at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.
GM’s fleet of self-driving 2017 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles will first be deployed as part of a broader test program at GM’s Technical Centre in Warren, Michigan. Through this program, GM employees will reserve a Volt using a car-sharing app, then select a destination. GM’s autonomous technology will bring the vehicle to its destination and park it.
The program will serve as a rapid-development laboratory to provide data and lessons to accelerate GM’s technical capabilities in autonomous vehicles.
In April 2015, GM Canada announced it that had been awarded a new automotive R&D and innovation mandate at its Oshawa Engineering Centre, focused on fast emerging “connected car” and the development of new urban mobility solutions. The company is hiring 100 new software engineers and engaging a growing ecosystem of select Canadian universities, accelerators and suppliers in its mandate.
The opportunity to realize fully autonomous vehicles has recently become a high profile issue for governments as billions of dollars are expected to be invested in new infrastructure. The Conference Board of Canada has suggested that autonomous cars could save Canadians $65 billion per year through less congestion, less fuel and fewer collisions and fatalities.