OSHAWA—Automated cars are quickly becoming more than just science fiction, and General Motor’s Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ont. is soon to become one of the automaker’s leading driverless vehicle research hubs.
In remarks at the Economic Club in Ottawa, GM Canada president and managing director, Steve Carlisle, confirmed the facility has been awarded the mandate to play a “leading role” in autonomous vehicles and build a fleet of self-driving, 2017 Chevrolet Volts.
“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,” Carlisle said. “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.”
GM noted the market opportunity in autonomous vehicles has become significant, with governments and corportations expected to invest billions of dollars into research. The Conference Board of Canada, for example, has suggested autonomous vehicles could save Canadians $65 billion each year by easing gridlock, using less fuel and causing fewer collisions and fatalities.
GM said the fleet of self-driving, electric Volts will first be deployed as part of a broader test program at its Technical Centre in Warren, Mich.
“The program will serve as a rapid-development laboratory to provide data and lessons to accelerate GM’s technical capabilities in autonomous vehicles,” the company said.
To support the Oshawa innovation mandate, which was first hinted at earlier this year, GM said it will hire 100 new software engineers, engaging its “growing ecosystem of select Canadian universities, accelerators and suppliers.”