GM Wants Cars With No Steering Wheels or Pedals On Roads Next Year

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This isn’t a render you’re looking it. It’s a very real car, and one that General Motors wants to have them rolling autonomously around public roads as early as next year.

Meet the Cruise (not Cruze) AV. It’s classed as a level 4, which means that it can operate without any assistance from a human co-pilot but only under a very specific set of conditions.  Those can include a limited geographic area or certain types of roads — say two lane roads with a speed limit of 35MPH or less.

GM has been developing the Cruise AV for quite some time. They’re now at the point where they believe it’s ready to hit the streets in earnest, so they’ve filed a safety petition with the Department of Transportation. If it gets approved, you may very well spot a Cruise AV chauffeuring humans around city streets in 2019.

In their most recent safety report, GM notes that human error is a contributing factor in as many as 94% of vehicle accidents. Putting the Cruise AV on the streets, they say, will help decrease the number of injuries and fatalities. Side note: it’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions, too — the Cruise AV is electric.

It’s worth remembering that a level 4 autonomous vehicle designed for ordinary folks to own is still required to have manual controls for driving under out-of-spec conditions. Given that the Cruise AV doesn’t have a steering wheel or pedals, it seems to be destined for commercial driving duties.

There’s a very good chance that would include driving for Uber, since they’ve been talking with GM off and on since 2016. There have also been rumors swirling that GM is planning to launch some kind of competing service of its own.

They’re in a great position to do that, given their previous relationship with Lyft and, you know… the fact that GM is building the actual vehicles that will be doing the autonomous driving.

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