GM’s latest car gives up steering wheels, pedals — and human control

The future of driving doesn’t involve driving — at all. That’s the big takeaway from first peak inside General Motors new autonomous car, which lacks the steering wheel, pedals, manual controls and human drivers that have come to define the experience of riding inside an automobile for more than a century. The means the Cruise AV — a fourth generation autonomous vehicle based on the Chevy Bolt EV — is in total control. GM submitted a safety petition with the Department of Transportation Thursday and plans to mass produce the vehicle as early as next year, the automotive giant announced Friday. The manufacturer is touting the vehicle as the world’s “first production-ready vehicle” built with the sole purpose of operating “safely on its own with no driver,” a degree of independence known as “Level 4 autonomy.” GM is far from the only company testing Level 4 vehicles. Zoox and Waymo have also tested Level 4 cars, but with a backup driver at the helm in case of an emergency. “What’s really special about this is if you look back 20 years from now, it’s the first car without a steering wheel and pedals,” said Kyle Vogt, chief executive officer of Cruise Automation, the San Francisco-based group that has partnered with GM to develop self-driving cars told Bloomberg. The self-driving Chevrolet Bolt — already being tested on busy streets in San Francisco and Phoenix with a human engineer in the vehicle — relies on cameras, radar, and high-precision laser sensors known… [Read full story]

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