At the same plant that builds the Chevrolet Bolt.
For more than a year, GM has been building research and development vehicles for its San Francisco based startup, Cruise Automation, in Michigan. But today the company announced production versions of the Cruise AV will be built at its Orion Township assembly plant in Michigan. The car’s roof modules will be supplied by the company’s Brownstown assembly plant, which currently produces battery packs for GM’s Voltec based plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The modules integrate LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware necessary to the AV’s operation. GM plans to commercialize the Cruise AV in 2019, and in doing so it will become the first production-ready vehicle capable of operating without driver input. The company released images of the car’s interior showing no steering wheel, pedals, or manual controls, aside from the infotainment screen, naturally. “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.”
GM will invest more than $100 million to upgrade both facilities. Even so, roof module production has already begun. Since January 2017, workers at the Orion plant have been responsible for assembling the ever-evolving fleet of self-driving test vehicles being used mainly in downtown San Francisco. More than 200 of the test vehicles have already been assembled to date.