GM's president Dan Ammann told The Verge "It's a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide-scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production vehicle with no driver controls, And it's an interesting thing to share with everybody". "We are building the world's best autonomous vehicles to safely connect people to the places, things, and experiences they care about".
If NHTSA approves the petition, GM will still have to get permission from states to run the steering wheel-free cars. Arizona is one possible destination, as Cruise is already testing some of its other vehicles there, and the state's regulations are friendly to autonomous vehicles. That is to say, it has no steering wheel, no pedals and no real driver controls at all - aside from a touchscreen - and GM says it'll hit the road in 2019.
As the vehicle is entirely autonomous, the company said there was no need for a steering wheel or even a brake pedal.
Cruise also released a safety report Friday detailing the steps it takes to ensure its vehicles are ready to drive on public roads.
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The Cruise AV, based on the Chevrolet Bolt, utilizes five LiDARs, 16 cameras, and 21 radars-including articulating radars, long-range radars, and short-range radars-to ensure capabilities in complex environments. A vehicle with no manual controls is another psychological threshold the industry believes it has to cross to win public acceptance. Testing within GM's own properties, and later on public roads in MI, has been underway since 2016. Alphabet's ( GOOGL ) Waymo self-driving unit intends to launch a ride-sharing service using driverless Fiat Chrysler ( FCAU ) Pacifica minivans outside of Phoenix. The company said Thursday.
Should you forget something and leave it behind in the vehicle, GM's team will be able to contact whoever is now inside through the touchscreen system. You'll be able to book the auto with an app, and it will drive itself over to you. "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".
"When GM acquired Cruise, we began by installing our technology into existing cars as a retrofit strategy, and we knew that wouldn't scale", Kyle Vogt, Cruise CEO, said. That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer.