GM plans to release cars with no steering wheel in 2019

GM plans to release cars with no steering wheel in 2019

GM and Cruise are making progress on their plan to deploy autonomous vehicles on roads for the public: Today, it's showing off its fourth-generation Cruise Autonomous Vehicle (AV), which comes just a few short months after it first revealed its third-generation vehicle.

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

GM's prototype self-driving vehicles have been developed in San Francisco by Cruise Automation, the onetime startup that GM acquired in March 2016 for a reported $1 billion. "So its to meet the standards but meet them in a way that's different than what's exactly prescribed, and that's what the petition seeks to get approval for".

The company said it has filed a petition with the US federal government seeking permission to put the vehicles on the road sometime next year with no human backup drivers.

This will be one of the first self-driving vehicles in commercial passenger service and among the first to do away with manual controls for steering, brakes and throttle.

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"When you don't have a steering wheel, it makes no sense to talk about an airbag in a steering wheel", Paul Hemmersbaugh, GM's policy director for autonomous vehicles, told reporters.

GM is requesting that 2,500 vehicles receive exemptions.

The Cruise Automation team is now testing its self-driving Chevy Bolt - with a human backup - in Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco.

Cruise also released a safety report Friday detailing the steps it takes to ensure its vehicles are ready to drive on public roads. Earlier in the fall, the federal government had requested more safety details from the self-driving vehicle industry.

Riders will be able to communicate with a call center with issues, and there are buttons that will stop the vehicle and allow them to exit in the event of an emergency.

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Some of Cruise's competitors, including Uber and Waymo, are also testing in Arizona.

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver's seat, but without a steering wheel.

The company declined to identify the first states in which it plans to launch the vehicle or say when it would begin testing.

What is the driver's seat in the Bolt EV will become the front left passenger seat in the Cruise AV, GM said.

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