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GM Unveils Self-Driving Cruise AV - Without Steering Wheel

14 January 2018

Riders will use a Cruise AV mobile-app to hail the cars, which will launch in one unnamed USA city next year.

Based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, it is a dedicated self-driving, pure electric sedan with no steering wheel or pedals. Well, if you've seen the Cruise AV, it's not similar to other driverless cars now around.

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. 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". Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Consumer Federation of America are releasing a poll today that shows "significant and widespread concerns" among the US public about the development and deployment of self-driving cars. These developments are not without their technological challenges, such as the competitive race to develop the optimal vehicle sensor technology for self-driving vehicles.

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The Cruise AV will be able to operate in hands-free mode only in premapped urban areas.

The next step is putting this new production vehicle, made on the assembly line in Orion, Michigan, on the road in 2019. Likewise, the autonomous processing system is fully redundant, so any failure there would simply result in switching from one to the other.

Waymo, Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving technology company, is preparing to launch a commercial ride-hailing program in Phoenix using driver-less Chrysler Pacifica Minivans.

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Assuming the DOT approves GM's safety petition, we could all be driving alongside robots next year. GM executives have said they planned to introduce a large-scale fleet of self-driving taxis by 2019, a time frame some analysts consider ambitious. GM executives said 7 U.S. states already allow the alterations sought by the automaker. So far autonomous driving is only allowed in about seven states including California and MI.

If approved, it will likely be the first production vehicle of its kind to hit the road, two years before a similar proposal from Ford.

Multiple reports are saying that GM is still communicating with the NHTSA for permissions to deploy cars without brake pedals or steering wheel.

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The announcement comes on the final day of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where dozens of tech and auto companies showed off plans to enable a self-driving future. GM has said the cost of shared rides could be less than $1 per mile by 2025 and the automaker sees potential for this becoming a core part of its business. For self-driving cars, these are "unintentional but necessary" barriers, he said, and the company is pushing for a change in the laws.

GM Unveils Self-Driving Cruise AV - Without Steering Wheel