General Motors to make first mass-market driverless auto

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For instance, the current (and voluminous) Federal Motor-Vehicle Safety Standards document assumes a steering wheel that contains an airbag for the driver.

GM's prototype self-driving vehicles have been developed in San Francisco by Cruise Automation, the one-time start-up that GM acquired in 2016 for a reported $1 billion. They also won't have an owner since GM will deploy its self-driving auto for ride-hailing, not personal use. The car's underlying body is that of a Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Those vehicles have been modified with sensors, cameras and radar equipment so the minivans can operate without a driver. GM is now applying for permission from the federal government to run the test cars without a driver. That's because it has no steering wheel and no pedals: indeed, no manual driving controls whatsoever.

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Cruise also released a safety report Friday detailing the steps it takes to ensure its vehicles are ready to drive on public roads.

The U.S. auto maker General Motors has formally asked permission from federal regulators to deploy its first driverless vehicle fleet in 2019. For example, the new model will have an alternative location for an airbag that would normally be in the steering wheel, Rice said. "Our self-driving vehicles aim to eliminate human driver error - the primary cause of 94 percent of crashes - leading to fewer injuries and fatalities", GM said in their "2018 Self-Driving Safety Report".

Asked for comment, two DOT spokespeople did not immediately respond. Whether the vehicle has some under the hood manual control override is not yet known. "And [Mercedes Benz' Christoph] von Hugo says the coolness of self-driving cars will help convince the public that the coming EVs will be worthwhile". But Waymo's self-driving fleet still has controls.

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Autonomous cars are the future and there's no doubting that.

As it stands one of the rules required for self-driving cars to be tested is that it needs to have a steering wheel and controls and a human behind the wheel to takeover in case anything happens.

The idea is that potential ridders would use a mobile app to request a ride, much like they use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. Touchscreens inside will give real-time ride status and remind them to buckle up and close the doors, and the Cruise AV will have emergency buttons to communicate with support personnel or end the ride.

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