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BANGKOK, THAILAND – As reported around the world recently, GM’s and the company’s self-driving-car business unit, Cruise Automation, recently announced that they have joined forces with Honda to pursue the shared goal of transforming mobility through the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology.

Honda will work jointly with Cruise and General Motors to fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise for global deployment. This partnership will see Honda invest a total of $2.75-billion, adding to a $2.25-billion stake from SoftBank Vision Fund investor earlier this year.

These landmark partnerships and funding announcements have reinforced GM’s leading position  in self-driving technology, with plans to launch a driverless vehicle fleet in 2019 as part of its vision of a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

What you may not know, however, is that GM has already brought self-driving technology to Thailand in the form of autonomous guided vehicles (AGV), the so-called “Bumblebees”. Bumblebees are a fleet of small, fully-autonomous electric vehicles that automatically deliver parts and components to the production line of the Chevrolet Colorado and Trailblazer at GM Thailand’s assembly plant in Rayong. The fleet of AGVs has improved production efficiency and helped reduce cost of parts delivery to the production line.

From Detroit to Rayong, self-driving technology is just one example from GM’s proud 100-year history of innovation and industry leadership, much of which it has implemented on iconic Chevrolet vehicles. Let’s take a walk down memory lane as we share a few more highlights from GM and Chevrolet’s history that might surprise you:

Five things to know about GM

1. Fuel Cell Developer: Self-driving cars isn’t the first time GM and Honda have collaborated. Since the 1990’s they’ve worked together on various vehicles and technologies. In June, GM and Honda signed a deal to collaborate on battery development for electric vehicles. In 2017, they formed a joint venture to produce advanced hydrogen fuel cell systems, expecting production to begin by 2020.

2. EV Innovator: While GM’s work in vehicle electrification is best demonstrated by the recent success of Chevrolet Bolt and Volt, the company’s first EV came out many years ago. From 1996 to 1999, GM produced the EV1, the first mass-produced and purpose-designed EV of the modern era from a major automaker. EV1 was the first GM car designed to be an EV from the outset along with being the first and only passenger car to be marketed under the corporate GM name instead of being branded under one of its divisions.

3. Proving Ground Pioneer: GM established the industry’s first dedicated automotive proving ground in 1924. Located in Milford, Michigan, it covers 16 square kilometers, with the equivalent of 212 km of roads representative of conditions found on public roadways and other specialty surfaces for vehicle testing. Every GM product, from every global market, is at some point touched by GM personnel working at Milford Proving Ground. Over the years, GM has opened proving grounds in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and China – many of which are still in operation.

4. Safety Standard-bearer: GM’s design of one of the first crash test dummies helped to set the industry standard for crash safety research. These days, GM uses dummies of all shapes and sizes at its safety test labs, each wired with 70 to 80 sensors that record and transmit data 10,000 times per second, detecting how much and what kind of force is endured during a crash. Engineers crunch the data from both the physical tests and computer simulations to understand how a new vehicle, its safety systems and occupants respond in crashes – then apply those insights to vehicle development.

5. In-vehicle Communication Systems Creator: Long before smartphones and apps helped customers connect with call centers, GM developed OnStar, the world’s first in-vehicle hands-free voice communication system in 1996. OnStar uses global positioning and satellite telecommunications to link vehicle users to OnStar advisers, who provide a host of services ranging from driving directions to emergency assistance on a 24/7 basis.

Five things to know about Chevrolet

1. Louis the Legend: In 1911, Swiss-born Louis Chevrolet, an automobile racer and self-taught engineer, joined forces with U.S. entrepreneur William “Billy” C Durant to found the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. Chevrolet started producing cars in 1912, beginning with the Series C “Classic Six," a luxurious high-performance six-cylinder model, followed by the more affordable Model H, powered by a durable four-cylinder engine that helped build Chevrolet’s reputation as a dependable car. In late 1913, Louis moved to Indianapolis to focus on auto racing, where he and his brothers became legends of the Indianapolis 500.

2. Keep on Trucking: 100 years ago, Chevrolet sold its first pickup truck, the 490 Light Delivery, for just $595, and its truck business has been going strong ever since. From the 1930 Roadster Truck to the hard-working Advance Design Series (1947-55), stylish Task Force Series (1955-59), sporty C/K Series (1960-99) and today’s ground-breaking Silverado and Colorado models, Chevrolet has sold many millions of trucks around the world. GM Thailand has manufactured 481,402 Colorado trucks since 2003 for sale in the kingdom and throughout the region.

3. Birth of the SUV: The automotive industry’s hottest-selling segment, the sport utility vehicle or SUV, had a humble beginning in 1935 when Chevrolet introduced the Suburban Carryall, an eight-passenger vehicle built on a half-ton commercial truck chassis. With a base price of just $675, not including optional heater and rear bumper, the world’s first SUV had very little in common with today’s fully equipped family haulers, such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer manufactured and sold in Thailand.

4. From the Racetrack to the Street: Chevrolet is famous for both its performance cars, like sleek, sexy Corvette and muscular Camaro (“Bumblebee” from the Transformers movies), as well as its success in motorsports. The brand’s participation in motorsports enables something called “technology transfer” from racing cars to production vehicles. Many advances in powertrain technology, aerodynamic refinement and vehicle lightweighting are “track-tested” before implementation on street vehicles.

5. A High Standard of Technical Excellence: Chevrolet dealerships around the world, including Thailand, rely on Certified Technicians to perform maintenance and repairs on customers’ cars. To do it right, Chevrolet technicians take a number of courses that cover everything they need to know for under the hood and beyond. These courses cover everything from Fundamentals, Emerging Issues, Engine Performance, HVAC, Drivetrains and Axels, Steering and Suspension, Brakes and more. There are 12 categories and numerous hands-on and theoretical courses for each that are required to become a GM Master Technician.