GM just introduced a self-driving auto without a steering wheel

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"When you see this image for the first time it's quite striking", said Dan Ammann, president of GM. "We are building the world's best autonomous vehicles to safely connect people to the places, things, and experiences they care about". Other companies like Ford, Mercedes and Waymo are all planning to release cars with no steering wheels in the near future. General Motors (GM) has asked federal regulators to approve an autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel, brake pedals, accelerator "or other unnecessary controls".

Now only seven states-Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, and Nevada-allow for testing vehicles without steering wheels or pedals.

Cruise, which is based in San Francisco, expects to test the modified Chevy Bolt next year. The Cruise AV, he said, has an airbag that mirrors the right front-passenger side that provides equivalent safety. As you can see in this concept video, the interior of the self-driving Bolt, or Cruise EV, looks nothing like the futuristic Byton or other over-the-top concepts we've seen over the years. The move is a bold one, however, since all self-driving cars to date have had the safety features that enable the driver to take back control should an incident arise. Surely there will be some instances where the vehicle would need some form of manual control, for instance, what happens when the auto gets taken in for maintenance? Alphabet's ( GOOGL ) Waymo self-driving unit intends to launch a ride-sharing service using driverless Fiat Chrysler ( FCAU ) Pacifica minivans outside of Phoenix. The announcement on Friday is the first sign from a major carmaker that engineers have enough confidence in self-driving cars to let them truly go it alone.

At a November 30 briefing in San Francisco, Mr Ammann told investors the lifetime revenue generation of one of its self-driving cars could eventually be 'several hundred thousands of dollars'.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed GM had petitioned for approval to operate up to 2,500 vehicles without steering wheels or human drivers. They simply want to "meet that standard in a different kind of way". That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer. 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.