GM unveils autonomous vehicle for 2019 with no steering wheel, pedals

Posted January 14, 2018

GM's president Dan Ammann told The Verge "It's a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide-scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production auto with no driver controls, And it's an interesting thing to share with everybody".

The autonomous revolution is almost upon us, and today General Motors is entering the fray properly with this, the Cruise AV.

The Detroit-based automaker said in a news release that its Cruise AV "is created to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls". Among the standards are rules for rearview mirrors, accelerator pedals and more - features missing in GM's control-free auto. "Safely developing and deploying electric self-driving vehicles at scale will dramatically change our world".

In GM's petition to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, the company is asking for standard exceptions that would allow them to operate 2,600 Cruises on public roads in 2019, Tech Crunch said.

Ford Motor is also developing a vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals, but has said it won't go into mass production until 2021.

To realize this vision, GM says it has "engineered safety into the Cruise AV in every step of design, development, manufacturing, testing and validation". The Cruise AV doesn't have any steering wheel and pedals. That's because it has no steering wheel and no pedals: indeed, no manual driving controls whatsoever.

How comfortable would you be in a taxi or car-service vehicle that had no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals? The automaker and companies including Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo unit and startup Zoox Inc. have demonstrated cars that can drive with so-called Level 4 autonomy.

The automaker added that it will work with regulators to develop new safety standards and petition for "permission to meet the safety objective of a standard through alternative means". GM says San Francisco provides rigorous challenges to the vehicles - for example, in the Northern California city it faces more than 7 times more emergency vehicles than in Phoenix.

GM is not only the American carmaker working on the self-driving vehicle sector.

"We're seeking to maintain the same, equal safety but to achieve the safety objectives of some standards in a different way", said Paul Hemmersbaugh, a former chief counsel for NHTSA who now serves as chief counsel for GM's mobility efforts.