The vehicle GM plans to deploy, dubbed the Cruise AV, will reportedly be the "first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own". The petition requested federal officials to allow these vehicles to operate on American roads without them having to meet 16 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that are now in place to cover vehicles that have human drivers, but are not necessarily applicable for driverless vehicles.
General Motors and its San Francisco subsidiary Cruise said Thursday that they have asked federal regulators to approve an autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel, brake pedals, accelerator "or other unnecessary controls".
This was explained in greater detail in the self-driving safety report GM released along with the Cruise AV interior photo.
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GM envisions a "controlled deployment", where the Cruise AV takes on ride-hailing duties only in geofenced areas with roads that have high-definition map data.
As GM made the announcement on Friday, shares in the company rose as high as 1.1 percent at 9:36am in NY, coming in at $44.68, GM's highest intraday trading level since November 29, Bloomberg Technology reports. While it might seem like GM is asking for a special treatment, they really aren't, Ammann told The Verge. GM executives said 7 U.S. states already allow the alterations sought by the automaker.
"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. They also won't have an owner since GM will deploy its self-driving vehicle for ride-hailing, not personal use. Under the standards now in place, Hemmersbaugh said, "we can't achieve them without a human driver or without a steering wheel".
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Still, G.M. appears to have a jump in the race to field self-driving cars. For self-driving cars, these are "unintentional but necessary" barriers, he said, and the company is pushing for a change in the laws.
News of the new robot-taxi from GM comes in the form of a Safety Petition the company filed with the Department of Transportation. In February 2017, the automaker said it will invest $1 billion during the next five years in Argo AI to develop a virtual driver system for Ford's autonomous vehicles.
If successful, GM's move would signal a major step forward for both electric and autonomous cars.
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