World Media

GM seeks testing of self-driving auto with no wheel or pedals

GM will use an updated version of this Chevrolet Bolt EV- sans steering wheel and pedals for the robo-cab test program

"GM wants to control its own self-driving fleet partly because of the tremendous revenue potential it sees in selling related services, from e-commerce to infotainment, to consumers riding in those vehicles", explains Reuters, possibly netting "several hundred thousands of dollars" over a vehicle's lifetime versus the, say, $30,000 it earns selling a auto. "That's why we believe this is a notable moment on the journey to full AV deployment".

The company's fourth-generation Cruise AV, which also has no manual controls, was created to operate completely on its own - no human driver necessary.

Others question the relative ease by which autonomous vehicles get fielded or tested.

"We have not yet shared detailed on locations, but we now test our driverless cars in downtown San Francisco, Phoenix, and metro Detroit, and we plan to expand to New York City this year".

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.

In a report about the project, GM details how the cars will be summoned by an app that automatically sets their climate controls and audio systems to the user's preferences.

Once inside, passengers will receive constant updates on the car's progress and status through a series of touchscreens: one in the dash up front and two more behind the headrests for passengers in the rear. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed on Friday that GM sought approval to operate up to 2,500 units of the Cruise AV.

GM has revealed what its level 4 self-driving vehicles will look like, as you can see from the video below.

How comfortable would you be in a taxi or car-service vehicle that had no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals? The feds suggested in 2016, and again a year ago, that tech companies and automakers working on self-driving cars voluntarily submit a safety checklist to the government in order to help keep tabs on this fast-moving technology.

Versions of the auto with driver controls are now undergoing a series of tests in San Francisco, California and Phoenix, Arizona. That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer.

"We are asking NHTSA to give us permission to meet the safety standards through a different approach because we can't achieve them now without a human driver or steering wheel", Hemmersbaugh said.