GM calls the Cruise AV the "first production-ready vehicle designed from the start without a steering wheel, pedals or other unnecessary manual controls", though the four-door seems largely to be a Chevrolet Bolt EV with an sensor- and radar-clad exterior and a de-contented interior. The petition requested federal officials to allow these vehicles to operate on American roads without them having to meet 16 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that are now in place to cover vehicles that have human drivers, but are not necessarily applicable for driverless vehicles.
GM says that it has filed a Safety Petition with the Department of Transportation in order gain permission to deploy the vehicles on roads across the country. It plans to release the Cruise AV, a self-driving vehicle without a steering wheel, pedals or any of the standard driver controls.
Kyle Vogt, the CEO of Cruise Automation said during last November that their plans for self-driving deployment do not involve small-scale pilots, which raised questions on road safety. The report notes, for example, that current GM self-driving cars have redundant hardware for steering and braking and electrical power. The Cruise AV doesn't have any steering wheel and pedals.
Obtaining a federal waiver would permit GM to operate the vehicles in the seven or so states that don't already have laws that restrict such vehicles.
Like many other companies, GM says the goal of self-driving cars is to eliminate crashes.
In October, Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google's parent company, released a safety report of its own. Surely there will be some instances where the vehicle would need some form of manual control, for instance, what happens when the auto gets taken in for maintenance? GM today submitted safety petitions to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that would achieve the same safety standards but through different means.
GM has been testing its self-driving vehicles on the busy streets of San Francisco, where one recently collided with a motorcyclist, who was taken to the hospital, according to Ars Technica.