General Motors today filed a petition with the Department of Transportation asking to put the Cruise AV into production by 2019: an autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals.
The Cruise AV is based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It’s the result of 18 months of development by Cruise Automation – the autonomous vehicle company that GM bought up back in 2016. The automaker has been using a geofenced bit of San Francisco to test the self-driving Bolts, and will expand the test area to Phoenix and New York City this year in preparation for the vehicle’s anticipated rollout in 2019.
GM also released a 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report, detailing its autonomous vehicle efforts and outlining how it plans to keep passengers safe in a car with no pedals or steering wheel. The report outlines the Cruise AV’s safety features, which include redundancies for the brakes, electric motors, onboard processor and communications systems. The car also meets all federal safety standards, and will accommodate those needing to install federally-certified child seats in the rear.
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With no pedals or steering wheel, the Cruise AV is technically an SAE Level 5 vehicle, although its self-driving capabilities will likely be limited to a geofenced area. It could be used to shuffle employees from place to place on large company campuses, for example, or operate as a ride-sharing or taxi service within a certain perimeter in a town or city. Putting the Cruise AV into production early, however, should allow GM to quickly and easily scale up production as its autonomous vehicle technology advances.