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

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

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

The first market-ready self-driving auto is poised to come from General Motors Co., which submitted its federal safety proposal Thursday to put a robotic vehicle with no steering wheel or gas pedal on public roads in 2019.

The company said passengers can get the auto moving by communicating with several interior screens.

It's not clear yet where or when the new vehicles will eventually be deployed.

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

Reuters reports that GM has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 16 alterations to current vehicle safety laws.

GM wants to control its own self-driving fleet partly because of the tremendous revenue potential it sees in selling related services, from e-commerce to infotainment, to consumers riding in those vehicles.

GM's prototype self-driving vehicles have been developed in San Francisco by Cruise Automation, the onetime startup that GM acquired in March 2016 for a reported $1 billion. If the vehicle is involved in a crash, it will automatically apply the brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop in a "controlled manner".

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. GM is asking for exceptions to rules around cars on roads that are specific to having humans at the wheel, and detailing their workarounds and safety measures. In October GM had built about 50 vehicles for testing by Cruise employees in the Bay Area. Cruise accounted for 22 of the 27 autonomous vehicle crashes in California in 2017.

Some of Cruise's competitors, including Uber and Waymo, are also testing in Arizona. Waymo announced in November that it was removing test drivers from the front seat.

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