GM boosts self-driving technology focus in Canada
12 June 2016
Commercial and regulatory progress towards autonomous-vehicle technology is taking place on both sides of the US/Canada border, as General Motors' Canada operations and the US federal government are putting resources into speeding up both technology and laws.
GM on Friday said it would more than triple the number of engineers at its facility near Toronto to about 1,000 during the next few years, and most of those new engineers will focus on autonomous-driving features. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne were on hand for the announcement, as the province of Ontario pushes for more technology and manufacturing investment. GM already started the hiring process for the new positions.
The self-driving focus would complement GM operations in Ontario, where the automaker makes six models. Engineers will be working on improving vehicle technology related to connectivity, safety, and infotainment. In addition to the new hires, GM will add a new Automotive Software Development Center in Markham, about 20 miles north of Toronto. Notably, GM said last month that it was working with ride-hailing service Lyft to develop an autonomous taxi version of the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle.
Meanwhile, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may be responding to automakers' demands for clarity on self-driving regulations by putting out a new batch of laws related to autonomous driving features as soon as next month, the Detroit News says. Priorities will likely include vehicle-operating rules and the process of making state laws consistent with each other. Other regulations that may be determined include whether items such as a steering wheel or brake pedals are required in autonomous-driven cars, or if a licensed driver needs to be behind the wheel. Additionally, for those fans of bureaucracy out there, the feds may even create a separate regulatory entity specifically for self-driving vehicles.