Cruise AV is GM's first auto without a steering wheel

Meet the Cruise AV, GM's First Production-Ready Driverless Car

The petition requested federal officials to allow these vehicles to operate on American roads without them having to meet 16 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that are now in place to cover vehicles that have human drivers, but are not necessarily applicable for driverless vehicles.

In essence, GM is asking for waivers from more than a dozen motor-vehicle safety standards that don't apply to autonomous cars without manual controls.

GM has petitioned the federal government for approval to adjust sixteen motor vehicle standards so that it can test the cars with no human backup drivers.

It also plans to restrict the fleet to operation under a GM-owned ride-sharing service-that is, the company has no plans yet to sell a Cruise AV to customers. He says the company isn't announcing how many will be made.

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.




"With its advanced sensor systems, the Cruise AV has the capability to see the environment around it, in 360 degrees, day and night", GM wrote in its report.

That is to say, it has no steering wheel, no pedals and no real driver controls at all - aside from a touchscreen - and GM says it'll hit the road in 2019. In late 2017, GM announced at an investor event in San Francisco it would launch self-driving vehicles meant for deliveries and ride-hailing services in five USA markets in 2019. For instance, cars now are required to have an air bag in the steering wheel. The automaker and companies including Alphabet's Waymo unit and startup Zoox have demonstrated cars that can drive with so-called Level 4 autonomy. Moreover, the company divulged that it has petitioned the Department of Transportation to adjust certain safety laws so to accommodate the model's unusual characteristics.

The self-driving vehicles are meant to drive only in geo-fenced boundaries on roads where a high-definition map data was created.

"When you see this image for the first time it's quite striking", said Dan Ammann, president of GM. Instead, the auto has several interior screens that passengers can use to communicate with the vehicle.

GM will run the cars in a test batch for a ride-sharing program starting in 2019, and they won't be without a safety net.

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