GM hopes to produce autonomous vehicle by 2019

It’s almost mind-boggling: an automobile that does not need a driver and does not have a steering wheel, pedals or manual controls.

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.

"When you see this image for the first time it's quite striking," said Dan Ammann, president of GM. "That's why we believe this is a notable moment on the journey to full AV deployment."

GM is seeking approval from the DOT to adjust 16 motor vehicle standards so it can test the cars, CNBC reported.

Ammann said the company wasn’t seeking an exemption from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards — something the government caps at 2,500 — just a new way around a few of the requirements.

"A car without a steering wheel can't have a steering wheel airbag," Ammann told The Verge. "What we can do is put the equivalent of the passenger side airbag on that side as well. So it's 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."

Ford has said it will build a steering-wheel-and-pedal-less autonomous car by 2021. Meanwhile, Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, is preparing to launch its first commercial ride-hailing service in Phoenix featuring fully driverless minivans, although these vehicles still will have traditional controls, the Verge reported.

About the Author