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GM Ride-Sharing Cars Would Have No Steering Wheel Or Pedals

14 January 2018

The vehicle GM plans to deploy, dubbed the Cruise AV, will reportedly be the "first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own". And in most areas of the country where testing is taking place on public roads, local authorities have required that companies have test drivers on hand to take over in case of an emergency. The automaker also announced that it filed a Safety Petition to be able to deploy its completely driverless version of Chevy Bolt called Cruise AV in 2019.

On Friday, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed GM had petitioned for approval to operate up to 2,500 vehicles without steering wheels or human drivers. It plans to release the Cruise AV, a self-driving auto without a steering wheel, pedals or any of the standard driver controls.

GM says that, come the deployment of the Cruise AV, it'll be offered on a ride-sharing basis.

GM declined to say where it would offer robot taxi service and how many cars might be involved.

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The all-electric runabout looks like a retrofitted Chevrolet Bolt EV - unsurprising, given the new Bolt EV serves as GM's self-driving platform - with a symmetrical dashboard that swaps the steering wheel and instrument panel for a mirrored layout of the passenger-side dash.

"What's really special about this is if you look back 20 years from now, it's the first vehicle without a steering wheel and pedals", Kyle Vogt, chief executive officer of Cruise Automation, told Bloomberg News.

GM, which is the first company to mass produce autonomous vehicles, presumably in preparation for a 2019 test of their driverless fleet, has also been testing a ride-sharing app for their driverless cars. It's based on the Chevrolet Bolt electric auto.

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Cruise has driven "hundreds of thousands of complex urban miles" in the self-driving cars, Vogt has said.

The Cruise AV has been created to open doors for those who can't do it on their own, and can also accommodate hearing and visually impaired passengers.

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. They feature a large array of sensors on the roof that will be engineered to pass crash tests with the rest of the vehicle.

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GM Ride-Sharing Cars Would Have No Steering Wheel Or Pedals