GM plans to deploy hundreds of autonomous vehicles across the country for testing

GM is looking to leapfrog its competitors in the autonomous driving space by deploying a larger fleet of cars than any of them — perhaps as many as 300, according to documents obtained by IEEE Spectrum.

An admirable bit of digging on some FCC applications showed an application to deploy 3,000 vehicular radar units, with 10 units per vehicle. Shortly thereafter, GM filed a request to deploy the same type of radar, though it declined to indicate how many. And after that, Bosch applied to test a different radar, with 650 units covering up to 162 vehicles, though it wouldn’t say for whom.

Fortunately, Bosch did indicate where it would be deploying its radars: Detroit, San Francisco and Scottsdale. GM subsidiary Cruise Automation is the only company that tests in all those locations.

While the exact number is unclear — there could be a mix of the two radar types on each vehicle, and some devices may also be spare parts. But even a conservative estimate puts it well ahead of competitors at least in terms of sheer numbers of test vehicles on the road.

The FCC has yet to grant the special license for these vehicles and devices to operate, so it may be a while before they are deployed.