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Dearborn -- A self-driving Chevrolet Bolt that started life navigating the streets of San Francisco in 2016 will now make its home in the permanent auto collection at The Henry Ford.

 “When Henry Ford created this institution,” said museum CEO and President Patricia Mooradian at the Tuesday morning unveiling, “he believed in the power of the tools of everyday life to reflect the genius of the American people. With this acquisition, we remain true to our founder’s vision.”

The car, an autonomous version of a pre-production Chevrolet Bolt EV that General Motors is donating to the museum, was developed in conjunction with Cruise Automation, a software start-up the company acquired three years ago.

“Today we’re adding another step chapter in the story of American innovation,” said GM President Mark Reuss, “with technology that will dramatically change people’s lives, like the birth of the automobile itself over 100 years ago.”

Equipped with a complex sensing system of cameras, radar, on-board computer and LIDAR sensors – which measure distance with rapid pulses of light – the car can take in all 360 degrees around it and maneuver the streets safely.

The white four-door hatchback with “01” on its front bumper is a little clunkier-looking than your average Bolt. Cameras poke out of the front bumper like little arms waving at oncoming traffic, and the vehicle wears a large metal sensing system on its roof like an ungainly crown.

The Bolt will take its place in the museum’s “Driving America” exhibit.

There it will join predecessors like the 1865 Roper Steam Carriage, Henry Ford’s 1896 Quadricycle, and the 1896 Duryea, which museum Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson called “the first series-produced automobile in America.” A grand total of 13 came off that production line.

mhodges@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mhodgesartguy

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