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GM’s New Self-driving Car Has No Steering Wheel or Pedals

Courtesy of General Motors

The car is controlled via tablet.

Jess McHugh
January 12, 2018

General Motors revealed its latest self-driving car Friday, and observers might notice a few things missing: namely a steering wheel and all other manual controls.

As the vehicle is entirely autonomous, the company said there was no need for a steering wheel or even a brake pedal. Users instead interact with the car through a series of touch screen tablets.

The U.S. car giant plans to test the vehicles and have them on the road for use in ride-sharing apps by 2019, according to a press release.

GM has applied for exemption from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 16 safety standards, saying they don’t apply to their automated car, CNN reported.

“When you don’t have a steering wheel, it makes no sense to talk about an airbag in a steering wheel,” Paul Hemmersbaugh, GM’s policy director for autonomous vehicles, told reporters. “So what we do instead is put in an airbag that mirrors the right front passenger side, and show it provides equivalent safety.”

GM has seen a high incidence of accidents with its self-driving cars. Their autonomous fleet was involved in six separate accidents in September 2017, all of which the company says were not caused by their vehicle, Reuters reported.

GM released a 33-page report detailing how they plan to address safety concerns, including perception sensors and collision detection.

The software is also designed to cope with any potential vehicle malfunctions to maintain safety, according to GM.

“There’s a backup for backups. We have multiple break systems on the vehicle,” Kevin Kelly, senior manager of advanced tech communications, told Travel + Leisure.

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