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GM wants to make autonomous vehicle with no traditional controls by 2019

12 January 2018

Other companies, from Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] to Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Waymo, have been testing self-driving vehicle prototypes in limited ride sharing applications, but have been less explicit than GM in announcing plans for commercial robo-taxi services. The vehicles will travel on a fixed route controlled by their mapping system, and the Detroit-based automaker is applying for federal permission to run the test cars without a driver.

For the past several years, automakers and tech companies have been testing self-driving cars on the roads of California. Two electric motors will power the fuel cell-powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle.

The Cruise AV is GM's fourth-generation self-driving auto.

GM will run the cars in a test batch for a ride-sharing programme starting in 2019, and they won't be without a safety net.

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GM's experiment will be a significant step forward for self-driving cars.

Besides the absence of a steering wheel, pedals, and other controls for the missing driver, the Cruise AV adds numerous sensors including the pricey but crucial Lidar that can be seen protruding from the rooftop bar.

The Detroit automaker is looking to meet its deadline for deploying a driverless ride-hailing service next year in a yet-to-be-named city.

GM, which also tests in Phoenix, said in a safety report slated to be released on Friday that for every 1,000 miles of autonomous driving, its auto needed to make 1,462 left turns in San Francisco, compared with 919 in the Phoenix suburbs.

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"We are also working with industry groups and NHTSA to advance the development of new FMVSS that will (a) remove unnecessary roadblocks to new safety technology, such as self-driving vehicles, and (b) advance the safety of self-driving vehicle technology", GM wrote in a new safety report.

Manufacturers can get around those standards by petitioning NHTSA for exemptions, provided they demonstrate that the exempted vehicle will be at least as safe as a conventional one.

Only seven states now allow cars without drivers (though in practice there are virtually none, because the technology is still being perfected).

Specifically, the vehicle contains 21 radar sensors, 16 cameras, and no fewer than five lidar units, and runs on self-driving software developed by Cruise and GM. The petition also requests for the permission to have 16 security requirements in a unique way, says Paul Hemmersbaugh, a Public Policy Director and Chief Counsel at General Motors.

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GM wants to make autonomous vehicle with no traditional controls by 2019