The company says it has filed a Safety Petition with the DoT for its fourth-generation self-driving Cruise AV – a fully autonomous electric car with no steering wheel or pedals. According to GM, it is the first such production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own, with no driver or manual controls.
The approval would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to adjust 16 motor vehicle standards, say reports, including such rules as requiring a steering wheel airbag. Once it receives permission, the company reportedly plans to test up to 2,500 modified Chevy Bolts on public roads in at least seven states that currently allow testing of such vehicles without a safety driver.
Safety is the primary focus of the design of the car, the company says. The vehicle features redundant systems backing up the driving systems, and in the event of a problem, the car is designed to slow down and pull over to the side of the road and then stop. An emergency safety stop button will also be available for passengers to use as well, if needed.
This move would mark another step in the company’s to combine Cruise’s autonomous technology, which is optimized for complicated real-world urban environments, with the ability to develop and manufacture vehicles at production levels. Initially, the company says it plans to focus on ridesharing services – a space in which other companies, including Waymo and Uber, have also recently announced plans to launch self-driving rife-hailing services.
For more on the design and development of the Cruise AV, see GM’s “2018 Self-Driving Safety Report.”