GM plans to speed up the development of self-driving cars image

General Motors announced it was forming a dedicated team to quicken the progress of self-driving and electric cars.

GM is speeding up its efforts to expand its self-driving and electric cars in the near future, thus announcing it will put together a dedicated team to oversee the further development of such vehicles. Beginning from today, Doug Parks, GM’s vice president for global product programs, is taking the lead of the company’s plan into this direction, being named vice president for autonomous technology and vehicle execution. He will supervise the development of new electrical and battery systems and software for the vehicles, and report to Mark Reuss, head of global product development, GM said in a statement. Parks has been working for GM since 1984 and prior to becoming vice president for global product programs in August 2012, he was executive director and group vehicle line executive for electric cars. As part of the new team, Sheri Hickok was named executive chief engineer for “autonomous joint ventures and fleet execution”, while Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electric vehicles, will take on additional responsibilities for strategic planning related to autonomous and electric vehicles.

General Motors’ first step into the expansion of its electric line-up will be marked by the launch late this year of Chevrolet Bolt, a model which was officially introduced during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The automaker has not revealed its full technical specifications, but the compact five-door hatchback with electric propulsion is expected to have a range exceeding 200 miles on a single charge.