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GM, Cruise To Seek NHTSA Approval For Self-Driving Cars With No Wheels, Pedals

(Benzinga) – General Motors Company GM 0.53% and subsidiary Cruise LLC are seeking regulatory approval for running a number of self-driving vehicles that have no steering wheels or pedals, the company announced Wednesday.

What Happened: The Cruise Origin vehicles will be deployed in the coming months, provided it is approved by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At the same time, the San Francisco, California-based self-driving company is also withdrawing an earlier petition filed in 2018 with the NHTSA wherein it sought to deploy similar vehicles based on the Chevrolet Bolt platform. 
The petition was reportedly under review for 15 months before the NHTSA invited public comment. The federal regulatory agency said it will “review the new petition when it is received,” according to Reuters. 

Why It Matters: The announcement to apply for permission for such vehicles was made after Cruise received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles last week to test driverless vehicles on San Francisco’s streets.

The Cruise Origin EV was unveiled in January and is powered by 100% renewable energy, according to the company. During the pandemic, the Cruise will seat a maximum of two passengers at a time.

GM is planning on investing $20 billion in EV and autonomous vehicle technology through 2025 and is planning to launch 20 new EV models by 2023.

Under existing regulations, companies can seek exemption from applicable motor vehicle safety standards for up to 2,500 vehicles for a period of two years, noted Reuters.

In 2018, GM had reportedly sought approval to remove mirrors, dashboard warning lights, and turn signals from its driverless vehicles and had hoped to deploy the vehicles by end of 2019.

Last month, the NHTSA released a new federal government online tool that helps track self-driving vehicle tests across the United States. 

The tool has signed ten companies, including Uber Technologies Inc UBER 3.07%Alphabet Inc GOOGL 2.25% GOOG 2.4% subsidiary Waymo, and Lyft Inc LYFT 1.87%

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