GM releases second Chevy Bolt EV autonomous driving video


The Chevrolet Bolt EV may very well turn out to be a game-changing electric car in more ways than one.

With an EPA-rated 238-mile range and a base price of $37,495, the Bolt EV has the potential to appeal to a much broader range of customers than previous electric cars.

At the same time, it's also the car General Motors is using as its primary autonomous-driving testbed.

DON'T MISS: Electric Chevy Bolt EV will be GM's first autonomous car (Dec 2016)

GM subsidiary Cruise Automation began testing autonomous Bolt EV prototypes on public roads last year.

Now, it's released the second in a series of videos showing the self-driving electric cars in action.

In the video, an operator selects a random destination using the Cruise app, presses a button, and the car begins driving itself to that destination.

Chevrolet Bolt EV self-driving prototype

Chevrolet Bolt EV self-driving prototype

Enlarge Photo

These sorts of tests occur hundreds of times per day across GM's fleet of prototypes, the automaker told WardsAuto.

The 3-minute video shows the view through the windshield as the car maneuvers through city traffic.

The only indication that the car is driving itself is another camera view shown in the lower-left-hand corner, from which it is clear that the steering wheel is turning by itself.

ALSO SEE: Fusion Hybrid again used for latest Ford autonomous test vehicle (Dec 2016)

In what has become standard procedure for autonomous test vehicles, the operator's hands hover around the steering wheel, ready to grab it in case human intervention is required.

GM acquired San Francisco-based Cruise Automation last year for $1 billion, and quickly put it to work testing autonomous cars.

Cruise began testing Bolt EV prototypes on the streets of San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona, last year, as well as GM's Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan.

Chevrolet Bolt EV self-driving prototype

Chevrolet Bolt EV self-driving prototype

Enlarge Photo

GM now plans to expand the testing program to public roads in its home state, including the streets of Detroit.

It made that decision after the passage of the SAVE Act, a package of rules meant to promote the deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Michigan was already one of a handful of states that explicitly legalized limited testing of self-driving cars on public roads.

MORE: Chrysler Portal concept: all-electric minivan for CES offers some self-driving (specs updated)

But the SAVE Act adds provisions allowing automakers to run autonomous ride-sharing services, allow self-driving cars to operate without a human driver behind the wheel, and for eventual sale of self-driving cars to consumers.

That creates a clearer legal path to commercialization of autonomous-driving technology, something GM no doubt finds appealing.

The Bolt EV itself will open up for customer orders in different U.S. states from now through July, though buyers in GM's headquarters state of Michigan won't receive their cars until September at the earliest, the very last month of that process.

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