GM's latest self-driving auto has no steering wheel or pedals

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Cruise AV will be the fourth generation of GM's driverless, all-electric Chevy Bolts, which are being tested at present in San Francisco and Phoenix, online publication TheVerge.com writes. The government views the exemptions as a way to bring the benefits of autonomous vehicles to public roads while regulators are still adapting existing laws for the new technology.

The Cruise AV is created to operate with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls when it goes on the road in 2019. 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. Instead, the auto has several interior screens that passengers can use to communicate with the vehicle.

Waymo, which used to be the autonomous auto arm of Alphabet Inc.'s Google, has made a limited number of autonomous vehicles without steering wheels and pedals.

General Motors announced Friday morning, January 12 that it has asked the government for permission to put mass-produced, autonomous cars on the road without a steering wheel or any pedals by next year.

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GM's autonomous test cars were in 22 accidents in California a year ago, according to data from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer.

The Cruise AV will be able to operate in hands-free mode only in premapped urban areas.

In October, Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google's parent company, released a safety report of its own.

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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Called the Cruise AV (Autonomous Vehicle), the auto is based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV and will hit the road as early as 2019, assuming GM receives regulatory approval.

Some of Cruise's competitors, including Uber and Waymo, are also testing in Arizona. Waymo announced in November that it was removing test drivers from the front seat.

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver's seat, but without a steering wheel.

The company declined to identify the first states in which it plans to launch the vehicle or say when it would begin testing.

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