GM Clarifies Self-Driving Cars Statement, Doesn't Have an 'Active Agreement with Austin'

Jan 13, 2016

Update 11:37 a.m. A General Motors spokesperson says that actually, this news is not confirmed; President Dan Ammann was just using Austin as an example.

“At this time, we do not have an active agreement with Austin. We are not pursuing an agreement with Austin. We do not have a forthcoming autonomous vehicle test in Austin. Dan was just using it as a hypothetical example," says Annalisa Bluhm, GM Spokesperson.

KUT's Jimmy Maas spoke with Austin Mayor Steve Adler Wednesday morning, who did not confirm that Austin would see a self-driving Lyft fleet downtown.

“We’ve cast our invitation and net widely around the world to let people know that we really want Austin to help facilitate this emerging technology. But I’m not going to talk about any particular conversations we’ve had with any particular people," Adler said. “I’m open to Austin to provide a home for those kind of technologies. We worked out a protocol with Google. They did with our police chief and city manager. I’m not aware of those same protocol conversations having happened as yet with GM and Lyft. But I would certainly be anxious to participate. This is a good thing for Austin."

Original story: GM and Lyft could be launching a fleet of self-driving vehicles in downtown Austin, according to digital media outlet Mashable. The website posted the news early Wednesday morning and quotes GM President Dan Ammann, who says the fleet of electric-hybrid cars will rollout in the downtown area sometime in the near future –before the automaker makes autonomous vehicles available to customers.

"We're going to have a car that operates only in downtown Austin that has a maximum speed of 30 mph and operates in controlled conditions," he told Mashable at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The announcement via Mashable comes on the heels of the news that GM invested $500 million in the ride-hailing service to launch this fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Until this morning, no specific details had been announced about where that fleet would begin operating. According to Mashable, Ammann says that the fleet released in partnership with the ride-hailing company will be the first self-driving cars accessible to the public and will require relatively simple programming for the "controlled conditions" required to run in a limited area of the city. 

The cars driving in the fleet will operate only in downtown Austin and will move only at speeds up to 30 mph. No timeline has been announced for the release.

So far, Mashable is the only major media outlet confirming the news.

This is a developing story that we will update as more information becomes available.