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GM Seeks US Approval for Car With No Steering Wheel

13 January 2018

General Motors and its San Francisco subsidiary Cruise said Thursday that they have asked federal regulators to approve an autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel, brake pedals, accelerator "or other unnecessary controls".

General Motors announced its self-driving Cruise AV-a modified electric Chevrolet Bolt-on Friday, January 12, following a petition submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to deploy a vehicle that doesn't comply with current safety standards.

General Motors has unveiled the Cruise AV, its first production-ready, fully autonomous auto to be used for its driverless ride-hailing fleet in 2019. Its Firefly prototype had no steering wheel or pedals and in 2015 took a blind man for what the company called "the world's first truly self-driving trip". "What we can do is put the equivalent of the passenger side airbag on that side as well". Federal safety regulation language revolves around human drivers and vehicles engineered to be piloted by a human driver - as opposed to artificial intelligence.

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Cruise wouldn't say where it will eventually deploy the new vehicles or how soon the public will be able to ride in them.

GM also must meet all state laws and is working to change laws where necessary.

The Cruise AV is said to have redundant steering, braking and collision detection systems, which can steer the vehicle if the main control network goes down.

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Back in November, Google's Waymo announced its fully self-driving cars were being tested on roads in Arizona. These taxis will be used to transport people, food, and packages. The other six are North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Nevada. Automakers have pushed for a set of consistent nationwide standards to allow them enough scale to flawless the technology, but safety advocates have criticized the pending legislation as too lenient and a risk to public safety.

If approved, the Cruise AVs would probably appear first in San Francisco or Phoenix, where G.M.'s self-driving subsidiary, Cruise Automation, is conducting tests. As is common for self-driving prototypes, the Cruise AV employs dozens of sensors, with five lidar, 16 camera and 21 radar sensors in total.

GM has revealed what its level 4 self-driving vehicles will look like, as you can see from the video below. GM today submitted safety petitions to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that would achieve the same safety standards but through different means.

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GM Seeks US Approval for Car With No Steering Wheel