When General Motors announced in April that it would invest heavily in its engineering centre in Oshawa and hire an army of tech sector employees, they were somewhat light on the specifics of exactly what projects would be involved. At the Economic Club in Ottawa on Monday, GM of Canada President Steve Carlisle announced that the group will be developing the company’s autonomous vehicle technology.
The team will build a fleet of self-driving 2017 Chevrolet Volts, which will be put into test use by employees at the company’s Warren, Michigan technical centre. GM employees will have access to a car sharing app, which will allow them to reserve a car, which will deliver them to their destination and then park itself. Presumably, sharp eyed readers in the Oshawa area might begin seeing these cars on local roads in the near future.
General Motors press release
OSHAWA, (December 1, 2015) – In remarks to the Economic Club in Ottawa, GM Canada president and managing director, Steve Carlisle, today confirmed that its Canadian Engineering Centre 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 Centre in Warren, Michigan.
“Our Engineering Centre in Oshawa was a logical place to locate this important work and it is the next step in growing the new mandate of the Centre to focus on work related to the Connected Car,” said Carlisle. “The Province of Ontario’s leadership in allowing autonomous vehicle testing was a helpful support in securing this advanced technology work for our Canadian facility.”
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.
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.