GM wants to test self-driving car with no steering wheel, pedals


A file photo of the Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle, a Honda and General Motors self-driving car partnership, during its unveiling in San Francisco, California, US. — Reuters

General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co are seeking exemptions from US authorities to relax some rules related to testing of autonomous vehicles, according to Steven Cliff, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The exemptions sought by the carmakers, posted on the agency’s website, will be open for public comments for 30 days, the notices show. The vehicle proposed by GM won’t have steering wheels, pedals, manual turn signals and mirrors, while the one offered by Ford is envisaged for the automated system to give commands for braking, throttle and steering.

“Once the comment period closes, NHTSA will review these comments, evaluate the petitions’ merits, and determine whether granting them is in the public interest,” Cliff said. “Safety will be paramount as we decide whether to grant or deny these petitions.”

GM-backed self-driving startup Cruise LLC is already facing scrutiny from US regulators and its own board of directors after a pair of on-road incidents raised questions about how ready the company is to expand its services.

Argo AI, the driverless startup backed by Ford and Volkswagen AG, began testing self-driving vehicles in Miami and Austin, Texas, in May without a human behind the wheel. – Bloomberg

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