General Motors says it is making the first mass-production autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals.

The company has filed a petition with the US federal government seeking permission to put the vehicles on the road sometime next year, with no human backup drivers.

That would let the firm launch a fleet of robo-taxis, beating off competition from rivals to launch such a service.

The location of the service has not yet been revealed, but GM is said to be in talks with representatives of a number of states in the US over the plans.

The car will be the fourth generation of its driverless Chevy Bolts, which are currently being tested on public roads in San Francisco and Phoenix.

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General Motors says it is making the first mass-production autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals. The company has filed a government petition  to put the vehicles on the road sometime next year with no human backup drivers

General Motors says it is making the first mass-production autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals. The company has filed a government petition to put the vehicles on the road sometime next year with no human backup drivers

WHAT ARE GM’S RIVALS DOING? 

GM will roll out fully driverless cars on public roads ahead of it rivals.

Ford has previously said it will build a steering-wheel-and-pedal-less autonomous car by 2021.

Meanwhile Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, is preparing to launch its first commercial ride-hailing service in Phoenix.

However, cars used for this service will still have a traditional steering wheel and brake pedals. 

The Detroit-based motoring firm’s Cruise Automation unit says the Cruise AV, has even been designed to open its doors automatically for passengers.

It will also have other accommodations for hearing and visually impaired customers.

This will be one of the first self-driving vehicles in commercial passenger service and among the first to do away with manual controls for steering, brakes and throttle. 

What is the driver’s seat in the Bolt EV will become the front left passenger seat in the Cruise AV, GM said.

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.’

GM is part of a growing throng of vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and tech startups seeking to develop so-called robo-taxis over the next three years in North America, Europe and Asia. 

Most of those companies have one or more partners.

Ford said on Tuesday it will partner with delivery service Postmates as the automaker starts testing ways to transport people, food and packages this spring in its self-driving cars, which are being developed by Ford’s Argo unit.

Other companies, from Uber to Waymo, have been testing self-driving vehicle prototypes in limited ride sharing applications, but have been less explicit than GM in announcing plans for commercial robo-taxi services.

GM executives said the automaker has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow 16 alterations to existing vehicle safety rules, to enable the deployment of the Cruise AV

GM executives said the automaker has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow 16 alterations to existing vehicle safety rules, to enable the deployment of the Cruise AV

GM executives said the automaker has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow 16 alterations to existing vehicle safety rules, to enable the deployment of the Cruise AV

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver's seat, but without a steering wheel. This image shows the proposed two front passenger seats in the vehicle

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver's seat, but without a steering wheel. This image shows the proposed two front passenger seats in the vehicle

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver’s seat, but without a steering wheel. This image shows the proposed two front passenger seats in the vehicle

GM executives said the automaker has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow 16 alterations to existing vehicle safety rules, to enable the deployment of the Cruise AV.

This includes having an airbag in what would normally be the driver’s seat, but without a steering wheel.

Executives said seven states already allow the alterations sought by the automaker.

In other states, including those that stipulate a car must have a licensed human driver, GM will work with regulators to change or get a waiver from existing rules.

The company declined to identify the first states in which it plans to launch the vehicle or say when it would begin testing.

GM wants to control its own self-driving fleet partly because of the tremendous revenue potential it sees in selling related services, from e-commerce to infotainment, to consumers riding in those vehicles.

The car has even been designed to open its doors automatically for passengers. It will also have other accommodations for hearing and visually impaired customers, as well as view screens in the front and rear

The car has even been designed to open its doors automatically for passengers. It will also have other accommodations for hearing and visually impaired customers, as well as view screens in the front and rear

The car has even been designed to open its doors automatically for passengers. It will also have other accommodations for hearing and visually impaired customers, as well as view screens in the front and rear

If successful, a 2019 delivery date would let the firm launch a fleet of robo-taxis and beat off competition from rivals in offering such a service. View-screens could be used to watch TV and films on long taxi rides

If successful, a 2019 delivery date would let the firm launch a fleet of robo-taxis and beat off competition from rivals in offering such a service. View-screens could be used to watch TV and films on long taxi rides

If successful, a 2019 delivery date would let the firm launch a fleet of robo-taxis and beat off competition from rivals in offering such a service. View-screens could be used to watch TV and films on long taxi rides

The Cruise AV is a rebranded version of GM's Chevrolet Bolt EV. The company declined to identify where it will launch its robo-taxi service or when and where it  will start testing its fleet of vehicles

The Cruise AV is a rebranded version of GM's Chevrolet Bolt EV. The company declined to identify where it will launch its robo-taxi service or when and where it  will start testing its fleet of vehicles

The Cruise AV is a rebranded version of GM’s Chevrolet Bolt EV. The company declined to identify where it will launch its robo-taxi service or when and where it will start testing its fleet of vehicles

At a November 30 briefing in San Francisco, Mr Ammann told investors the…



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