The first mass-produced cars without steering wheels

14 January, 2018, 00:25 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • General Motors

GM President Dan Ammann told The Verge that the company isn't now desiring an exemption, rather will find a different way to "meet that standard in a different kind of way". Designing a vehicle from the ground up with full automation in mind is a bold move, given that the company has yet to receive approval to deploy the vehicle to begin with, but one that could usher in the age of full autonomy much more quickly if it proves successful. Under the standards now in place, Hemmersbaugh said, "we can't achieve them without a human driver or without a steering wheel". Arizona is one possible destination, as Cruise is already testing some of its other vehicles there, and the state's regulations are friendly to autonomous vehicles. The Cruise AV is created to operate with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls when it goes on the road in 2019.

As the vehicle is entirely autonomous, the company said there was no need for a steering wheel or even a brake pedal. The Cruise AV, he said, has an airbag that mirrors the right front-passenger side that provides equivalent safety.

The Cruise AV is said to have redundant steering, braking and collision detection systems, which can steer the auto if the main control network goes down.

Versions of the vehicle with driver controls are now undergoing a series of tests in San Francisco, California and Phoenix, Arizona.

Welcome to the fearless new world of true driverless vehicle. In other states, the GM would have to work with local officials to get the rules changed.

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Late a year ago, Waymo started an autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix using a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

Reuters reports that GM has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 16 alterations to current vehicle safety laws. Unlike some vehicles coming out of the electronics show, GM's vision looks rather ordinary, a natural transition from today's vehicles.

GM has seen a high incidence of accidents with its self-driving cars. "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 automaker added that it will work with regulators to develop new safety standards and petition for "permission to meet the safety goal of a standard through alternative means". Currently, only seven states allow the technology to be tested without a safety driver, said Paul Hemmersbaugh, GM's chief counsel and policy director for transportation as a service.

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