Sunday, 22 July, 2018

GM just introduced a self-driving vehicle without a steering wheel

Meet the Cruise AV, GM's First Production-Ready Driverless Car GM just revealed a fully autonomous electric car that doesn't have a steering wheel
Kayla Schwartz | 12 January, 2018, 16:41

General Motors (GM) has revealed that it's on track to put its first self-driving vehicle on roads in 2019.

Though many companies are already testing driverless cars on public roads, the vehicles typically have traditional controls and a driver in place to take over should that be required. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, self-driving cars can drive without human intervention but only in specific geographic locations.

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

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver's seat, but without a steering wheel. Waymo announced in November that it was removing test drivers from the front seat.

About 50 test vehicles from that generation have been undergoing tests in a geographically restricted area of downtown San Francisco. For example, new cars must have an airbag in the steering wheel - but in this vehicle there will be no steering wheel.

For the past several years, automakers and tech companies have been testing self-driving cars on the roads of California.

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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, which also tests in Phoenix, said in a safety report slated to be released on Friday that for every 1,000 miles of autonomous driving, its auto needed to make 1,462 left turns in San Francisco, compared with 919 in the Phoenix suburbs.

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.

GM's autonomous test cars were in 22 accidents in California previous year, according to data from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. The Cruise AV is created to operate with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls when it goes on the road in 2019. It has filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to test the robocars.

The automaker would then need to obtain similar approval from individual US states. Current law caps the number of exempted vehicles at 2,500 vehicles per manufacturer per year. Currently, only seven states allow the technology to be tested without a safety driver, said Paul Hemmersbaugh, GM's chief counsel and policy director for transportation as a service.

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