General Motors Shows Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel Or Pedals

General Motors

General Motors Co.'s fourth-generation autonomous vehicle is rather different than the previous three iterations: It has no steering wheel or pedals.

But because the new GM vehicle is fully autonomous, the company says there is no need for manual controls, such as a steering wheel or accelerator and brake pedals.

GM said it has filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to test the cars, however, current auto-safety standards in the USA require vehicles have controls for drivers, such as foot pedals and a steering wheel.

GM has revealed what its level 4 self-driving vehicles will look like, as you can see from the video below.

GM is far from the only company testing level 4 vehicles. The driver's seat in the current Bolt will be replaced by a passenger seat.

One example, according to Hemmersbaugh, is a standard requiring vehicles to have airbags in steering wheels, which wouldn't be possible without a steering wheel. Instead, the Cruise AV has an airbag that mirrors the one on the right front-passenger side that provides an equivalent level of safety.

General Motors submitted a federal safety proposal on Thursday to put its first self-driving vehicle on the road by 2019.

Self-driving vehicles are allowed to be tested in seven states - Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Nevada. The vehicles will travel on a fixed route controlled by their mapping system, and the Detroit-based automaker is applying for federal permission to run the test cars without a driver.

"What's really special about this is if you look back 20 years from now, it's the first auto without a steering wheel and pedals", said Kyle Vogt, chief executive officer of Cruise Automation, the San Francisco-based group that has partnered with GM to develop self-driving cars told Bloomberg.

Ford announced on Tuesday that it would partner with delivery service Postmates as the carmaker starts testing ways to transport people, food and packages this spring in its self-driving cars, which are being developed by Ford's Argo unit.

GM has been working towards the building of self-driving cars as it acquired startup Cruise Automation to help develop self-driving vehicles and invested at least $14 million to expand the company's development work. GM could create up to 2,500 automated vehicles per year.

"In the last 18 months, we've worked to rapidly and iteratively integrate this technology into a production-ready vehicle", said Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt.

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