GM says ready to deploy driverless auto fleet next year

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"That's why we believe this is a notable moment on the journey to full AV (autonomous vehicle) deployment". Today, the company revealed that the fourth generation of its electric driverless vehicle, the Cruise AV, will not have any manual controls, such as pedals or a steering wheel. For example, new cars must have an airbag in the steering wheel - but in this vehicle there will be no steering wheel.

Others question the relative ease by which autonomous vehicles get fielded or tested. The company is seeking the US government approval for a fully autonomous vehicle - one without a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal - to enter the automaker's first commercial ride-sharing fleet in 2019.

On Friday, General Motors Co. made the announcement that it plans to mass-produce a auto with no steering wheel.

GM plans to deploy its self-driving vehicles first for ride-sharing service. A video with jazzy music showed off the new model, which is based on the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt but boasts a strikingly spacious windshield devoid of a steering wheel.

Like many other companies, GM says the goal of self-driving cars is to eliminate crashes.

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CNBC said that Waymo, formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, is preparing to launch a ride-hailing program outside of Phoenix using driverless Chrysler Pacifica Minivans.

If approved, GM will possibly be the first automaker to deliver a production-ready fully autonomous vehicle that has done away with manual controls for steering, brakes and throttle. The application to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeks to exempt GM from a number of federal standards that can not be met with a driverless vehicle. GM could create up to 2,500 automated vehicles per year.

The car's hardware and software can reportedly identify pedestrians, spot objects entering the road, deal with aggressive drivers, navigate past road cones, handle construction zones, and cope with situations normally thrown up by driving in the city. "So its to meet the standards but meet them in a way that's different than what's exactly prescribed, and that's what the petition seeks to get approval for". That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer.

In its proposal, GM asks the administration for alternative ways to meet the 16 federal driver-based requirements for operating on public roads.