GM and Ford Seek US Approval to Deploy Self-Driving Steering Wheel Vehicles


July 20 (Reuters) – General Motors (GM.N) and Ford Motor (FN) have asked U.S. auto safety regulators to grant exemptions to deploy a limited number of autonomous vehicles without human controls like steering wheels and pedals of brake.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the separate petitions on Wednesday and opened them for public comment for 30 days.

The NHTSA has the authority to grant petitions to allow a limited number of vehicles to operate on US roads with no human checks required. The two automakers want to deploy up to 2,500 vehicles a year, the maximum allowed by law, for ride-sharing and delivery services. Neither is seeking permission to sell self-driving vehicles to consumers.

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GM and its Cruise self-driving technology unit in February revealed that they asked NHTSA to get permission to deploy autonomous vehicles without steering wheels, mirrors, turn signals, or windshield wipers.

Ford’s petition, submitted July 2021had not been disclosed until NHTSA’s publication on Wednesday.

Ford announced plans to roll out an autonomous pick-up and parcel delivery vehicle earlier this decade. The automaker told NHTSA for its autonomous vehicles “having active driving controls and communications would introduce an unacceptable safety risk.”

GM wants to roll out the Origin, a vehicle with subway-style doors and no steering wheel. GM says the vehicles will require all passengers to fasten their seat belts before their self-driving journey begins.

In 2018, GM petitioned NHTSA to allow a car built on a Chevrolet Bolt without a steering wheel or brake pedal on US roads. At the end of 2020, GM withdrew the petition.

GM said Wednesday it continues to work with NHTSA “as their review continues and remains eager to see the fully self-driving Cruise Origin on the road in the years to come.”

Ford wants to deploy autonomous hybrid-electric vehicles “specifically designed and adapted to support mobility services such as ride-sharing, carpooling and package delivery.”

A Ford spokesperson said “the petition is an important step to help create a regulatory pathway that allows autonomous technologies to mature over time, eliminating controls and displays that are only useful to drivers. humans”.

NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff said the agency “will carefully review each petition to ensure safety is a priority and to include considerations of disability access, equity and environment”.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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