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Cars without steering wheels? The day has come for GM

14 January 2018

"We think the technology is going to have a huge impact on the world", GM President Dan Ammann said during a conference call. "That's why we believe this is a notable moment on the journey to full AV deployment".

General Motors aims to deploy a fleet of its fourth-generation self-driving vehicle, Cruise AV, which has been designed without a steering wheel and pedals, in 2019. Among the standards are rules for rearview mirrors, accelerator pedals and more - features missing in GM's control-free vehicle. Responding to questions about when and where the vehicles would be tested, Vogt had a one-word answer: "2019".

But because the new GM vehicle is fully autonomous, the company says there is no need for manual controls, such as a steering wheel or accelerator and brake pedals.

Legislation pending in Congress would allow automakers to seek far broader exemptions from federal vehicle standards for self-driving vehicles and would limit states' powers to regulate the vehicles.

The new General Motors vehicle is the fourth generation of its driverless, all-electric Chevy Bolts, according to The Verge. The Cruise AV doesn't have any steering wheel and pedals.

Automaker GM wants to take autonomous cars to a new level. "And [Mercedes Benz' Christoph] von Hugo says the coolness of self-driving cars will help convince the public that the coming EVs will be worthwhile". It's the fourth generation of GM's self-driving auto. Self-driving cars operate by GM's Cruise division have already been involved in some fender benders, usually involving other road users crashing into them.

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

GM said that it has filed a safety petition with the Department of Transportation for the vehicle, which the company claims is now "production-ready".

If we are to consider a vehicle truly autonomous, it would surely be at the point where human controls are completely removed such as a steering wheel and pedals.

GM sees the announcement Friday as a significant step toward the widespread adoption of self-driving vehicle technology.

"We are asking NHTSA to give us permission to meet the safety standards through a different approach because we can't achieve them now without a human driver or steering wheel", Hemmersbaugh said. Current law caps the number of exempted vehicles at 2,500 vehicles per manufacturer per year.

Cars without steering wheels? The day has come for GM