General Motors to unveil driverless vehicle that has no steering wheel

Jan 14, 2018, 00:21
General Motors to unveil driverless vehicle that has no steering wheel

"We think the technology is going to have a huge impact on the world", GM President Dan Ammann said during a conference call.

The autonomous revolution is almost upon us, and today General Motors is entering the fray properly with this, the Cruise AV. For the most part, they all add the hardware and software necessary to allow complete control of a vehicle by a computer, but retain primary controls (like the steering wheel and accelerator/brake pedal) for the driver to operate in the case of an emergency.

General Motors is looking to reinvent the wheel, by building a vehicle without a steering wheel, pedals or gear selector, because it doesn't need them.

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The Cruise Automation team is now testing its self-driving Chevy Bolt - with a human backup - in Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco.

"Our vehicles are on the road in communities across the USA navigating some of the most challenging and unpredictable driving environments", the Cruise website said. As you can see in this concept video, the interior of the self-driving Bolt, or Cruise EV, looks nothing like the futuristic Byton or other over-the-top concepts we've seen over the years.

If approved, GM will possibly be the first automaker to deliver a production-ready fully autonomous vehicle that has done away with manual controls for steering, brakes and throttle.

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In a 33-page report on the effort, GM noted extensive development of the auto in San Francisco and Phoenix, promising it had "evaluated potential failure modes for all systems" and addressed them to ensure safety and reliability. Alphabet's ( GOOGL ) Waymo self-driving unit intends to launch a ride-sharing service using driverless Fiat Chrysler ( FCAU ) Pacifica minivans outside of Phoenix.

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.

The autonomous cars now being tested by major companies still have manual controls. Most of GM's hydrogen-powered vehicles will most likely be ambulances or delivery trucks. That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer.

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"Once we get that approval from the federal government, we will be cleared to deploy these vehicles", said Paul Hemmersbaugh, GM chief counsel and public policy director.