If GM is going to release a fully autonomous car in 2019, it has to be ready to build more than just a handful of test vehicles... and it's willing to spend a fair sum to make sure that happens. The automaker has announced that it will build production versions of its Cruise AV at its Orion and Brownstown plants in Michigan, and will spend over $100 million to upgrade both plants for self-driving car manufacturing. Orion will assemble the cars, while Brownstown will assemble the sensor-laden roof modules.
The Orion plant may be familiar if you've kept tabs on GM's forays into electric and driverless vehicles. It's best known as the manufacturing home for the Bolt EV, but it has also assembled Cruise test vehicles and the Sonic.
News like this from GM was really just a matter of time, but it underscores one of the major challenges in bringing self-driving cars into the mainstream: companies have to spend hefty amounts upgrading their facilities to produce technology that had never been a factor before. It's not surprising to see collaborations like the Lyft/Magna partnership, as many of the companies in the autonomous vehicle world might face trouble developing and building vehicles all on their own.