GM announced it would build the new 55-acre test track on the south end of the Oshawa Assembly complex earlier this year after being met with backlash for closing down the large production plant. The automaker also allocated a limited amount of parts production to the large assembly plant, saving about 300 jobs. About 2,500 people currently work at Oshawa Assembly, most of which will be laid off when production of the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala ends later this year.
The committee needed to approve the construction of the test track, as the plot of land Oshawa Assembly sits on was not approved for a test track previously. Warren Munro, Oshawa’s commissioner of development services, said the town was not worried about noise or other related complications from the track, as it will mostly be for electric and autonomous vehicles.
“There’s not going to be a whole lot of noise, these are electric vehicles, they’re silent for the most part, much quieter than a combustion engine,” Munro told DurhamRegion.com.
Munro also said that GM wanted to initiate the project fairly quickly, so it seems as though the automaker is keen to have its new autonomous vehicle testing area up and running. In its initial statement for the facility, GM said engineers embedded at the facilities “will develop software and hardware for autonomous vehicle systems, embedded controls, active safety systems and infotainment,” and will support the operations at its nearby Markham and Oshawa technical centers.
Before GM can officially break ground on the test track, they will need obtain the proper demolition and building permits from the city as well. A portion of the Oshawa Assembly plant will need to be knocked down in order to make room for the track, it is understood.