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

14 January, 2018, 00:26 | Author: Phil Peters
  • Cruise AV         Manufacturer image

"If you look back 20 years from now at the history of autonomous vehicle deployment, it is a major milestone to create a production vehicle with no manual controls, especially one built in a high-volume production line", said Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt in a conference call with reporters.

Just as 1908 marked the end of the horse and buggy era with the introduction of the Ford Model T, 2018 may well be remembered as the end of the automotive era, as General Motors begins mass-production of a driverless vehicle without steering wheels or pedals. For the most part, they all add the hardware and software necessary to allow complete control of a vehicle by a computer, but retain primary controls (like the steering wheel and accelerator/brake pedal) for the driver to operate in the case of an emergency.

"We have not yet shared detailed on locations, but we now test our driverless cars in downtown San Francisco, Phoenix, and metro Detroit, and we plan to expand to New York City this year".

TechCrunch reported the Cruise AV is based on the Bolt electric vehicle platform and can even close the doors of passengers who don't. In other states - including those that stipulate a auto must have a licensed human driver - GM will work with regulators to change or get a waiver from existing rules.

However, GM would still need to get permission from most states to operate cars with no human drivers.

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GM, along with Alphabet Inc and startup Zoox Inc, have already demonstrated vehicles that can drive with so-called Level 4 autonomy, meaning cars that can drive without human intervention, but only in certain geographic areas, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

The move comes as Waymo, formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, prepares to launch a ride-hailing program outside of Phoenix using driverless Chrysler Pacifica Minivans. "And [Mercedes Benz' Christoph] von Hugo says the coolness of self-driving cars will help convince the public that the coming EVs will be worthwhile".

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

Manufacturers can get around those standards by petitioning NHTSA for exemptions, provided they demonstrate that the exempted vehicle will be at least as safe as a conventional one.

In its proposal, GM asks the administration for alternative ways to meet the 16 federal driver-based requirements for operating on public roads. That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer.

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