Global

GM is dropping the steering wheel in autonomous cars

GM is dropping the steering wheel in autonomous cars

General Motors took a step toward autonomous vehicles, filing a safety petition with the Department of Transportation for its fourth-generation, self-driving Cruise AV, the company said in a news release Friday. For example, the new model will have an alternative location for an airbag that would normally be in the steering wheel, Rice said. "Safely developing and deploying electric self-driving vehicles at scale will dramatically change our world".

The legal problem in testing the vehicles is that standards require compliance through tests with a human driver and manual steering, acceleration and braking controls. The fourth generation of GM's Cruise AV driverless auto, it's even more of a departure from what you'll now find on the automaker's dealership forecourts.

That gets thorny. GM says it's complied with the government's latest automated driving guidelines, but the legalities of control-free cars are complex.

The all-electric runabout looks like a retrofitted Chevrolet Bolt EV - unsurprising, given the new Bolt EV serves as GM's self-driving platform - with a symmetrical dashboard that swaps the steering wheel and instrument panel for a mirrored layout of the passenger-side dash.

General Motors has another additional plan to come up with a ride-sharing service in 2019 via deploying fully autonomous cars, according to an announcement in the last fall.

Meet the Cruise AV, GM's First Production-Ready Driverless Car
Cruise AV: GM Removes the Steering Wheel

That compares with the $30,000 (£22,000) on average that GM collects today for one of its vehicles, mostly derived from the initial sale.

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 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives permission to the petition filed by General Motors, the company could manufacture as more as 2500 driver-less vehicles of this type every year.

GM is part of a growing throng of vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and tech start-ups seeking to develop so-called robo-taxis over the next three years in North America, Europe and Asia. "And [Mercedes Benz' Christoph] von Hugo says the coolness of self-driving cars will help convince the public that the coming EVs will be worthwhile". The automaker and companies including Alphabet's Waymo unit and startup Zoox have demonstrated cars that can drive with so-called Level 4 autonomy.

More news: It's not official, but sources say the secretive Zuma satellite was lost