You won’t need a steering wheel in the autonomous cars of the future – and General Motors just brought us a little closer to this bold new reality. The new Cruise AV has no steering wheel, pedals, or manual controls – and the automaker would like to see the driverless car hit the streets next year.
GM’s Cruise AV could hit the streets as soon as 2019. They’ve filed a safety petition with the Department of Transportation for their fourth-generation of the car. The company says the Cruise AV is the “first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals, or manual controls.”
GM said they spent hours of real-world testing to develop the Cruise AV. The car company acquired LIDAR technology company Strobe last fall, with Strobe’s engineers joining GM’s Cruise Automation team to develop the technology for self-driving cars. The car is equipped with advanced sensor systems and has two main computer systems, so if the primary computer fails the secondary system can jump in. A crash-imminent braking system also serves as a backup, ready to hit the brakes if needed.
“Our Cruise AV has the potential to provide a level of safety far beyond the capabilities of humans,” GM said in their 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report.
GM says all their autonomous vehicles will be electric. They paint a vision of a world free of car crashes – since human driver error is “the primary cause of 94 percent of crashes,” according to GM, their driverless cars could help pave the way for safer road travel. They’re also marketing self-driving cars as offering mobility no matter a person’s age or physical capabilities. You can read GM’s 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report here.