GM's third-generation self-driving car, developed with Cruise, as seen at a demonstration event on November 28, 2017 at the Dogpatch Studio in San Francisco.

  • General Motors and its Cruise subsidiary on Tuesday gave their first public demonstrations of the self-driving car they’re developing, which is based on the Chevy Bolt.
  • The car successfully navigated a drive through a San Francisco neighborhood without incident, but the ride wasn’t smooth.
  • Cruise and GM are focusing on safety right now, rather than the rider experience, but officials expect to start mass producing the cars “in a matter of quarters.”

SAN FRANCISCO — In the race to build autonomous vehicles, General Motors is determined not to be left behind.

Last year, it bought Cruise Automation, a startup based here, to jumpstart its self-driving car efforts. On Tuesday, GM demonstrated what it and Cruise have been working on, giving a select group of reporters a test drive in one of their autonomous vehicles.

“This is a big moment for me, personally, and for General Motors and for Cruise,” Kyle Vogt, Cruise’s CEO, said.

GM plans to mass produce its self-driving cars in a matter of “quarters, not years,” company president Dan Ammann said. He declined to specify when, exactly, the company plans to start selling them.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

In the meantime, Ammann, Vogt, and their colleagues were eager to show off their self-driving cars. Although GM and Cruise have been internally testing prototype vehicles for more than a year, this was the first time the companies had given members of the media or the general public a ride in them.

General Motors President Dan Ammann, as seen at the company's self-driving car event with Cruise in San Francisco on November 28, 2017.GM’s self-driving vehicles are basically modified versions of its Bolt electric vehicles. GM has added some 40 sensors to the vehicles, include an assortment of radar and lidar devices, as well as hundreds Read More Here