GM says it's mass-producing cars without steering wheels

GM says it's mass-producing cars without steering wheels

The Detroit-based automaker said in a news release that its Cruise AV "is created to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls".

The carmaker's self-driving arm, Cruise Automation, on Friday unveiled the latest version of its autonomous vehicle - and the manual controls have been removed. Instead, the auto has several interior screens that passengers can use to communicate with the vehicle.

Cruise wouldn't say where it will eventually deploy the new vehicles or how soon the public will be able to ride in them. If the federal safety highway agency approves GM's petition, the automaker could build up to 2,500 of these vehicles per year, though the automaker has not committed to a firm production plan.

GM sees the announcement Friday as a significant step toward the widespread adoption of self-driving vehicle technology.

The Cruise Automation team is now testing its self-driving Chevy Bolt - with a human backup - in Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco.

General Motors announced Friday morning, January 12 that it has asked the government for permission to put mass-produced, autonomous cars on the road without a steering wheel or any pedals by next year. Current US auto-safety standards contain several provisions that act as de facto requirements that vehicles have driver controls such as a steering wheel and foot pedals.

GM and Cruise also released a safety report that provides a lot of detail about what measures they've put in place to keep the vehicle safe on streets.

GM argues Waymo's tests are mostly in the greater Phoenix area, where traffic situations are less complex than what it's encountered in San Francisco. Cruise accounted for 22 of the 27 autonomous vehicle crashes in California in 2017.

GM, Zoox, Waymo and others have all tested Level 4 cars, but usually with a driver still at the wheel to take over in case the system doesn't work properly.