GM Will Make Autonomous Versions Of The 2017 Chevrolet Volt

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2016 Chevrolet Volt, first drive in California, July 2015

2016 Chevrolet Volt, first drive in California, July 2015

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Beginning in late fall 2016, if you’re lucky enough to visit the Warren Technical Center campus of General Motors [NYSE:GM], in Michigan, you might find your shuttle quite intriguing: a 2017 Chevrolet Volt, driving itself.

The automaker plans to deploy a fleet of Volt extended range electric cars to drive people autonomously within the campus.

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To use the service, employees would use a smartphone application, reserving the vehicle and then selecting a destination. Using autonomous technology under development, the vehicle would then pick up the employee, bring them to the destination, and then park the vehicle.

“The program will serve as a rapid-development laboratory to provide data and lessons to accelerate the company’s technical capabilities in autonomous vehicles,” said the automaker yesterday, in a press release accompanying a Global Business Conference Call.

Cadillac's Super Cruise system undergoing testing.

Cadillac's Super Cruise system undergoing testing.

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For the rest of us who aren’t GM insiders, we’ll need to wait many years—likely more than a decade—for the sort of technology demonstrated there, unrestricted for real-world driving. In the meantime, GM’s so-called Super Cruise autonomous-driving technology is an interim step, and the automaker confirms that it will first be offered in the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

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Will any of those autonomous technologies make it into the regular-production 2017 Volt? We'd say that's highly unlikely, yet in the 2016 Volt you can already get blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, forward collision alert, and automatic braking, plus an optional advanced parking assist function. 

The completely new, second-generation Chevrolet Volt makes its debut for the 2016 model year and will be arriving to dealerships very soon. In the 2016 Chevy Volt, which we've found a lot more refined as well as somewhat sportier and pleasant-driving, Chevy has boosted its all-electric range to 53 miles, while it gets 42 mpg when running solely on power from the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

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