GM's latest vehicle gives up steering wheels, pedals - and human control

Meet the Cruise AV, GM's First Production-Ready Driverless Car

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards can make exemptions, but only up to 2,500 vehicles a year, so GM is looking to "meet that standard in a different kind of way", company president Dan Ammann told the Verge.

That's the big takeaway from first peak inside General Motors new autonomous auto, which lacks the steering wheel, pedals, manual controls and human drivers that have come to define the experience of riding inside an automobile for more than a century.

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver's seat, but without a steering wheel. The Detroit automaker has been testing self-driving Bolts in various urban locations, but has had backup or safety drivers in the front seat.

Assuming everything is completed on schedule, GM's 2019 launch target would put it a full two years ahead of rival Ford Motor Co., which said that it hopes to start producing autonomous vehicles without a steering wheel by 2021.

General Motors is asking the American government to change the rules to help develop a vehicle without any steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal.

The Cruise AVs, which are based on the Chevy Bolt EV - not the similarly named Chevy Cruze - are the fourth-generation autonomous vehicles from Cruise Automation, a San Francisco startup that GM acquired in March 2016.

Like many other companies, GM says the goal of self-driving cars is to eliminate crashes.




The cars are undergoing testing on the roads of San Francisco and the Phoenix suburbs.

Late previous year, Waymo started an autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix using a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

The future of self-driving cars may arrive sooner than you think, if General Motors gets its way. In an interesting twist, GM's supporting documentation on its self-driving vehicle efforts [PDF] detail that your personalized radio station settings and climate controls will be synced when you book a ride. The company said Thursday.

The automaker said it petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 16 specific exceptions to meet current federal safety standards with workarounds that accommodate the cars' unique nature.

GM has revealed what its level 4 self-driving vehicles will look like, as you can see from the video below.

Only seven states now allow cars without drivers (though in practice there are virtually none, because the technology is still being perfected).

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