General Motors Company filed a petition to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to deploy a self-driving car with no manual controls, the automotive giant announced. The fourth generation of its automated all-electric model Chevy Bolt would not comply with existing safety requirements that only recognize human-driven vehicles, so the company is seeking a different regulatory approach for a model that doesn’t have a steering wheel or a pedal. When explaining the petition, GM President Dan Ammann said that ”it’s to meet the standards but meet them in a way that’s different than what’s exactly prescribed.” Cruise AV, which is the name of the new model, was designed and engineered to operate safely on its own. It has the ability to ”see” the environment in 360 degrees in daylight and at night. Since the steering wheel is missing, the inside is more spacious, enhancing comfort in the front. The new model is currently being tested on public roads in San Francisco and Phoenix.
GM’s autonomous cars are being developed by Cruise Automation (now GM Cruise LLC), a Silicon Valley start-up acquired by the auto giant in 2016. In order to accelerate development of the self-driving technology, the Detroit-based car maker also purchased Strobe Inc., a laser imaging solutions start-up in October 2017. GM is preparing to integrate the new driverless car into its automated ride-hailing service planned for launch by 2019, to compete with Uber, Lyft, and Ford which are developing their own self-driving cars. Google’s Waymo is also working on a commercial ride-hailing service in Phoenix, run by fully driverless minivans.
”General Motors’ mission is to bring our vision of a world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion to life. Safely developing and deploying electric self-driving vehicles at scale will dramatically change our world,” the car manufacturer said in its Self-Driving Safety Report for 2018.