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Chevy Bolt EV pre production
A Chevrolet Bolt EV pre-production vehicle on the assembly line March 16, 2016 at the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Mich.  Courtesy of General Motors/Jeffrey Sauger

GM’s Planned Chevy Bolt EVs Are Spotted in San Francisco

May 18, 2016

Several Chevy Bolt EVs—the all-electric car that isn't supposed to go into production until October—were spotted on Wednesday driving around San Francisco.

SpiedBilde, a company that specializes is photographing car prototypes, caught the vehicles on camera. The images were then published by tech news site The Verge.

The cars had sensors and cameras on the roof, the kind of tech typically used in autonomous vehicles. But it was unclear whether the vehicles were in self-driving mode.

In one shot, Kyle Vogt, the co-founder of Cruise Automation, an autonomous vehicle technology company that GM said in March that it would acquire for more than $1 billion, was in the driver's seat. Based on the photos, it would appear that Cruise Automation is testing autonomous vehicle technology in the Chevy Bolt EV.

GM spokesman Kevin Kelly declined to comment.

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GM has quietly worked on autonomous vehicle tech for years. That all changed in the past year as GM began announcing new initiatives—sometimes several a month—that highlight its interest in self-driving cars and unconventional transportation options popularized by a new wave of startups, including a partnership and $500 million investment in ride-hailing startup Lyft.

GM partners with Lyft to develop self-driving cars:

GM's goal is to create a network of self-driving cars within Lyft’s service that can shuttle passengers around town without a driver. GM is also developing a car-sharing service, joining a growing list of major automakers pushing into new businesses to attract customers who don’t own vehicles.

The new business division called Maven will combine and expand several of GM’s existing test programs under one brand. The Maven team and the self-driving tech staff, which now includes Cruise Automation, is moving fast, one source at GM, who asked not to be named, told Fortune recently.

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