General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, announced on Friday its plans to enter the world of stand-alone cars. And the company plans to do this by betting on a vehicle without a steering wheel, gearbox or pedals.
Autonomous cars have been tested a few years ago by several companies, but most of them are adapted versions of ordinary cars – that is, with steering wheel, pedals and gearbox. Normally, cars also run with a driver ready to take control in case of an emergency.
GM’s bet is on a refurbished version of the Chevrolet Bolt that is called Cruise AV, and it does not have room for an emergency driver. The company has announced that it has asked for authorization from the major US automobile manufacturing control body, FMV, to put the vehicle on the market in 2019.
The car, however, will depend on this government authorization to be sold, which can be difficult to achieve considering that it promises to come with no control option for the user, not even a button. Even the doors open and close by themselves.
At The Verge, GM president Dan Ammann said the company did not ask for an FMV exception authorization but actually wants to “meet the [safety] requirements in a different way.” As an example, Ammann suggests that the Cruise AV comes with four-door airbags, since the car has no steering wheel.
“This way, he meets the standards, but in a way that is different from what is described [in the regulation],” said Ammann. As Engadget recalls, GM is also part of a group of automakers seeking to change FMV’s authentication rules to accelerate the adoption of standards for standalone cars.