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General Motors will next year begin operating a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids at its main research and development centre in Detroit.

According to the American automaker, the self-driving Volts will operate within the grounds of the Warren Technical Center, around 29 kilometres north of downtown Detroit.

Employees will be able to hail and set a destination for an autonomous Volt via a car sharing app on their smartphones. Once at the destination, the self-driving Volt will park itself.

The autonomous Volt taxis will be operating at the technical centre from late 2016. GM says that this fleet of self-driving cars will “serve as a rapid-development laboratory to provide data and lessons to accelerate the company’s technical capabilities in autonomous vehicles”.

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The second-generation Volt was revealed briefly at CES this year, before a full unveiling at the Detroit motor show. The company has been slowly revealing details about the plug-in hybrid since then.

With its updated drivetrain and battery pack, the new Volt is claimed to have an EV driving range of 85 kilometres, up 24km on the original. Overall range on a full tank and a fully charged battery is now rated at 676km, up from 612km in the first-gen Volt.

Unlike the first-generation car, the new Volt will not be sold in Australia as a Holden.




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