General Motors has begun construction work on its autonomous vehicle test track in Oshawa, Ontario.
The track has been named the Canadian Technical Centre McLaughlin Advanced Technology Track after the founder of the McLaughlin Motor Car Company, Colonel Sam McLaughlin.
GM first announced it would build an autonomous vehicle test track in Oshawa earlier this year as part of its agreement with local labor union Unifor. The auto maker received pushback from the union for announcing plans to close down the Oshawa Assembly facility, which currently builds the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS and also finishes production of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks that are shipped there from the USA. In response, GM announced it would build the new test track on a plot of land near the plant, bringing engineering jobs to the Oshawa region, as well as producing some vehicle parts there.
The test track and parts production facility represent a CA$170m (US$130m) investment in the Oshawa region by GM Canada. Construction on the track began this month and it is expected to be fully operational by the spring of 2020. GM says the track will “support advanced software and engineering work being conducted at GM’s Canadian Technical Centre campuses in Oshawa and Markham, and further positions Durham Region on the cutting-edge of automotive technology development in Canada”.
CTC McLaughlin joins GM Canada’s CTC Cold Weather Development Centre in Kapuskasing, Ontario as well, adding to GM Canada’s existing vehicle testing leadership presence in Ontario.
GM will begin testing autonomous vehicles at the track next year, although it’s not clear exactly what projects the center will focus on at first. GM is currently trying to develop a self-driving robotaxi based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV under its Cruise subsidiary in San Francisco.