Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

GM wants to deploy fully autonomous, manual control-free vehicles by 2019

GM wants to deploy fully autonomous, manual control-free vehicles by 2019

GM said it has filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to test the cars, however, current auto-safety standards in the United States require vehicles have controls for drivers, such as foot pedals and a steering wheel.

As it stands one of the rules required for self-driving cars to be tested is that it needs to have a steering wheel and controls and a human behind the wheel to takeover in case anything happens.

The Cruise AV is based on the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, which was launched in 2017 and has a driving range in excess of 200 miles.

General Motors GM Cruise LIDAR self-driving autonomous driverless
How GM's Cruise AV works

"Our vehicles are on the road in communities across the US navigating some of the most challenging and unpredictable driving environments", the Cruise website said.

According to General Motors, its latest contribution to automated transport, the Cruise AV, only has to cross a few more regulatory hurdles before it can begin giving people rides across the USA.

GM notes that the Cruise AV will be able to operate without a steering wheel, pedals or any other form of manual input. Still, for the Cruise AV, GM has to negotiate with states that explicitly require a licensed human driver behind the wheel.

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General Motors wants to add a fully autonomous auto - one with no steering or pedals - to its commercial ride-sharing fleets in 2019, and it's now seeking approval from the USA government to do so.

Riders will use a Cruise AV mobile-app to hail the cars, which will launch in one unnamed US city next year. The steering wheel and pedals will be gone, giving total control to the machine. It's based on the Chevrolet Bolt electric auto.

■Seat belts must be buckled and doors closed before the cars start to move. Companies need to get large numbers of self-driving cars on the road before they can focus on that.

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For the past several years, automakers and tech companies have been testing self-driving cars on the roads of California.

GM argues Waymo's tests are mostly in the greater Phoenix area, where traffic situations are less complex than what it's encountered in San Francisco. Now, autonomous cars like this don't meet the Federal Motor Vehicle's safety standards.

GM submitted a safety petition with the Department of Transportation Thursday and plans to mass produce the vehicle as early as next year, the automotive giant announced Friday.

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