GM Holding Talks With NHTSA for Autonomous Cars Without Steering Wheels
【Summary】Roughly a few years after introducing a petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General Motors is close to getting an answer to self-driving cars without steering wheels or backup drivers.
At the moment, all autonomous vehicles must have a few key things, those being steering wheels and backup drivers. Well, General Motors wants to come out with a small fleet of autonomous vehicles that don't have these two things, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes that it will have a decision soon on the automaker's request, reports Reuters. The outlet claims that the NHTSA and GM are holding talks on the manufacturer's plans.
No Human Controls
In 2018, GM requested permission from the NHTSA to deploy a small number of modified Chevrolet Bolt EVs without steering wheels, brake pedals, and accelerator pedals – or any other conventional controls – on public roads. The request was the first of its kind that the NHTSA has ever received. The NHTSA originally delayed its decision because of a fatal accident involving one of Uber's self-driving Volvo's in Arizona.
GM's petition requests permission from the NHTSA to put autonomous vehicles "without a human driver and without human driver controls" on the road. Apparently, the automaker will cap the number of self-driving cars on the road that meet these requirements at 2,500 units a year. The vehicles will be "fully self-driving for all trips" and are meant to, hopefully, advance safety and low-emissions technology for future products.
At approximately the same time as GM's special request, Nuro, a startup company testing autonomous delivery vehicles, sent in a similar request to the NHTSA. Nuro's appeal was for it for the NHTSA to allow fully autonomous delivery cars on the road.
In the article, acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens claims that the administration has plans to respond to both petitions in 2020. "I expect we're going to be able to move forward with these petitions soon – as soon as we can," Owens told Reuters. "This will be a big deal because this will be the first such action that will be taken."
Why Is It Taking So Long?
Officials at the NHTSA, according to Owners, are "crawling through these petitions" because the administration wants to ensure that the autonomous vehicles are at least as safe as human-operated vehicles.
As Car & Driver points out, GM's original 100-page petition clearly laid out why it felt like fully autonomous vehicles would be safer than modern cars on the road. "Because human error or behavior leads to 94 percent of vehicle crashes, technology that eliminates the human driver has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives and to avoid or mitigate hundreds of thousands of vehicle crashes every year in the United States alone," claims the company.
Beyond being the first to have self-driving cars without steering wheels on the road and collecting all of the relevant data from its small fleet, GM is hoping to boost interest in zero-emissions cars (like electric vehicles) by using the Bolt EV. Together, the company's program will help the public become okay with autonomous cars and become more interested in EVs.
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Now PHEV Only
Acura Prevision EV Concept Previews Brand’s Electric Future
Hyundai Gets Serious About Electric Performance Cars, Shows off Two Concepts
Ford Looks to Have 100% of EV Sales Be Online
Volkswagen CEO Believes It Will Overtake Tesla in EV Sales by 2025
Report Claims Nissan Leaf Will Be Discontinued by 2025
Autonomous Vehicles Will Require Cities to Change Their Transportation Methods
Rivian, Mercedes-Benz Partner to Produce Electric Commercial Vans
- General Motors is Doubling its Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving Network to 400,000 Miles of Roads in North America
- Panasonic Announces Multi-Year Agreement to Supply Electric Vehicle Batteries to Lucid Group
- General Motors Launches ‘EV Live’ an Interactive Virtual Experience Where Participants Can Learn More About Electric Vehicles
- Facing Rising Production Costs, Automakers Ford, GM, Stellantis and Toyota Urge Congress to Lift the Cap on the $7,500 EV Tax Credit
- Tesla is Bringing in Engineers From Shanghai to Help Ramp Up Production Capacity at its California Factory
- Hyundai Unveils the IONIQ 6 ‘Electric Streamliner’, its Bold Sedan With a 380-Mile Range and 18-Minute Charging Time
- Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO is Appointed to Lead the Automaker's New Electric Off-Road Truck Division ‘Scout’
- The World’s First Level-4 Automated Parking Feature Developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch is Approved for Commercial Use
- NHTSA Upgrades Tesla's Autopilot Investigation to 'Engineering Analysis'
- Intel’s Self-Driving Car Unit Mobileye Postpones its Planned U.S. IPO That Could Value the Company up to $50 Billion