GM plans to release cars with no steering wheel in 2019

The driverless car will be GM's fourth-generation Chevrolet BoltGM

The driverless car will be GM's fourth-generation Chevrolet BoltGM

Speaking of the Cruise AV, General Motors' president Dan Ammann said: "It's a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production vehicle with no driver controls, and it's an interesting thing to share with everybody".

GM said the self-driving cars will be built on the Chevrolet Bolt EV platform next year and it's asking to meet 16 safety requirements "in a different way", Paul Hemmersbaugh, GM's chief counsel and public policy director for transportation and service, said.

General Motors and its San Francisco subsidiary Cruise said Thursday that they have asked federal regulators to approve an autonomous auto with no steering wheel, brake pedals, accelerator "or other unnecessary controls". Approval is needed to deploy the Cruise AV on public roads as planned in 2019. Most of those companies have one or more partners.

A photo of the interior is all we have to go on, but judging by the fact that it looks like a Chevrolet Bolt EV interior with the steering wheel, pedals, gauges, and shifter Photoshopped out, we think it's a safe bet that the vehicle will be a modified Bolt EV. GM executives said seven US states already allow the alterations sought by the automaker.

"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", said Kyle Vogt, chief executive officer of Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based unit that is developing the software for GM's self-driving cars, Bloomberg reports. Individual U.S. states will then also have to make similar alterations or grant the company waivers, though GM notes seven states have already altered their rules to be friendly to self-driving cars like the Cruise AV. The steering wheel and pedals will be gone, giving total control to the machine.

For more details, you can jump into GM's 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report.

In October, Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google's parent company, released a safety report of its own.

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.

Assuming the DOT approves GM's safety petition, we could all be driving alongside robots next year.

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