January 20, 2021
GM-Cruise petitions US government to deploy self-driving car minus steering wheel

GM-Cruise petitions US government to deploy self-driving car minus steering wheel

GM wants the future. Now.


General Motors‘ Cruise Automation submitted a petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to grant the company permission to deploy its Origin self-driving car on Wednesday. While self-driving car laws exist at the state level, the companies need a federal OK to deploy the Origin without a steering wheel or driver pedals.

If you recall, GM-Cruise already submitted a petition two years ago for its Chevy Bolt-based prototype vehicle, which also did not include a steering wheel or pedals. NHTSA reviewed the petition for 15 months before providing a mandatory public comment period, and ultimately, the petition remained stuck in limbo. That petition’s gone, according to Cruise’s announcement, and instead, it will focus on getting the Origin on the road.

The Origin isn’t something GM and Cruise dreamt up as a concept. In fact, it’s planned for production at the automaker’s newly renamed Factory Zero in Detroit, Michigan. The assembly lines that once built cars like the Cadillac CT6, Chevy Volt and others will soon build the Origin and electric vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV

The issue with self-driving cars that do not include a steering wheel or pedals is the fact federal regulations require these components in order for a vehicle to be road-worthy. The regulations are decades old and assumed a human would always be in control — a reasonable premise at that time. Today, automakers and other companies continue to work on their autonomous technologies to one day deploy completely self-driving vehicles. The general consensus remains that we’re still a very long way from robo pods driving us around, but companies continue to sink billions of dollars into the industry. Not to mention, a successful petition would give Cruise and GM serious bragging rights.

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