No manual controls whatsoever in GM's new Cruise AV electric auto

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Company President Dan Ammann told reporters GM had filed on Thursday for government approval to deploy the 'first production-ready vehicle designed from the start without a steering wheel, pedals or other unnecessary manual controls'. Ammann said. "A vehicle without a steering wheel can't have a steering wheel airbag", he said.

Self-driving vehicles are allowed to be tested in seven states - Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Nevada.

General Motors is seeking US government approval for a fully autonomous vehicle - one without a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal - to enter the automaker's first commercial ride-sharing fleet in 2019, executives said.

General Motors is looking to reinvent the wheel, by building a auto without a steering wheel, pedals or gear selector, because it doesn't need them.

Since acquiring Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based startup in 2016, GM and Cruise developed four generations of self-driving vehicles.

General Motors Co. will run the self-driving cars in a test batch for a ride-sharing program starting in 2019.

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With no steering wheel or pedals, the car's dashboard appears jarringly symmetrical in model photos released by the company.

"Imagine the peace of mind knowing that whatever our age, our stage of life or our physical capabilities we have the freedom to go wherever we want to go", GM says in a statement. The feds suggested in 2016, and again previous year, that tech companies and automakers working on self-driving cars voluntarily submit a safety checklist to the government in order to help keep tabs on this fast-moving technology. Meanwhile, Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, is preparing to launch its first commercial ride-hailing service in Phoenix featuring fully driverless minivans, although these vehicles still will have traditional controls, the Verge reported.

Reuters reports that GM has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 16 alterations to current vehicle safety laws. The cars also have a backup braking system independent of the autonomous-driving system that activates if a crash is imminent. The mass production of the self-driving vehicle is expected to take place at a factory in Orion Township, Michigan. The petition also requests for the permission to have 16 security requirements in a unique way, says Paul Hemmersbaugh, a Public Policy Director and Chief Counsel at General Motors.

General Motors hopes its new driverless electric vehicle, and others following it, will be part of a safer, cleaner and more efficient future that will lead the transition to a time without traffic jams.

Only seven states now allow cars without drivers (though in practice there are virtually none, because the technology is still being perfected).