GM wants clearance from the United States to deploy self-driving vehicles.
General Motors and its self-driving technology subsidiary Cruise have petitioned US authorities for authorization to develop and deploy a self-driving electric car without steering wheels or brake pedals, Cruise said Friday.
Cruise stated in a blog post that it wanted approval to deploy the Cruise Origin, which operates securely without the use of a steering wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the power to authorize applications to temporarily permit the operation of a limited number of cars on United States roads that do not require human controls.
"The submission of this petition demonstrates that Cruise and General Motors are ready to build and deploy the Origin here in America," Cruise wrote; noting that the self-driving electric vehicle would expand mobility options for people who have faced barriers to dedicated transportation, such as seniors and the blind people.
The Cruise Origin, created in collaboration with General Motors and Cruise investor Honda Motor, features two long seats that face each other and easily seat four people. Cruise announced Friday that production will begin in late 2022 in Detroit at a General Motors facility, with cars arriving in 2023.
Cruise and General Motors said in October 2020 that they intended to seek clearance from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) within months to deploy the Cruise Origin.
In 2018, GM petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to enable a car based on the Chevrolet Bolt to run on US roads without steering wheels or brake pedals. GM withdrew the petition in late 2020.
The NHTSA, which spent 15 months studying the first petition for genetically modified organisms before soliciting public opinion, declined to comment Friday. Congress has halted legislation to expedite the deployment of self-driving electric cars on US highways without human supervision.
Under present law, businesses may request an exemption from motor vehicle safety requirements for up to 2,500 cars that do not comply with existing federal regulations for a period of up to two years.
In May 2021, Cruise requested President Joe Biden to support legislation that would increase the ceiling on the number of cars that a firm may seek exemption for. The laws mainly were designed decades ago to assume that a human driver would drive a vehicle.
In December, Geely Holding said that its premium electric mobility brand, Zeekr, will manufacture electric vehicles for Waymo, Alphabet Inc's self-driving business, for deployment as fully autonomous ride-hailing vehicles throughout the United States.