To hear the Tesla Motors faithful tell it, the Silicon Valley-based electric car company is single-handedly steering the future of the automotive industry, forcing Detroit’s Big Three to get serious about pure-electric propulsion, and rolling out the closest thing to a fully-autonomous driving system that’s available today. Yet as seriously as Tesla seems to be taking self-driving car technology – the automaker builds each new car with the hardware necessary to unlock full autonomy at some later date – it logged no autonomous test miles in California last year.
General Motors, meanwhile, logged the second-most test miles of any company: 131,676, according to InsideEVs.
And GM’s Level-5 autonomy timeline certainly doesn’t seem any more ambitious than Tesla Motors’; the Detroit company says it plans to put a fully-self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV on the road by 2019, initially for use in ride-hailing fleets – not as a vehicle for individual purchase. Tesla’s latest projections put its autonomous system’s release at about the same time, although that system will be available for individual use.
For its part, Tesla Motors says it’s been testing “via simulation, in laboratories, on test tracks, and on public roads” in other locations, according to a company report. That may be so, but for one of the first automakers with public autonomous testing permission from the California DMV to log zero miles for the entire year seems odd, especially as the company is headquartered in the state.
Either way, that General Motors logged so many test miles by contrast – nearly 10k more miles than what it logged in 2016 – suggests that the Detroit automaker is at least as serious about making self-driving cars a reality as the Silicon Valley company.