GM’s Cruise petitions NHTSA to allow it to launch AV with no steering wheel


Cruise, the autonomous vehicle (AV) development arm of GM (General Motors) in the USA, has announced that it is officially petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for approval to build a vehicle with no steering wheel – the Cruise Origin – as a commercial service.

The Cruise Origin is a zero-emission, shared, electric vehicle that has been designed from the ground up to operate without a human driver. This means it does not rely on certain human-centered features, like a steering wheel or a sun visor, to operate safely.

The statement from Cruise reads: “At Cruise and GM, safety is our mission. This petition both demonstrates how the Origin achieves safety objectives of existing standards, and helps enable future AV regulations. NHTSA has made clear in public testimony and regulatory actions, that in order to consider the development of AV standards, they first need more information from real world AV operations. We believe this petition can help enable that outcome: learnings from the Origin, which is designed to improve overall road safety, can help inform the creation of new, updated regulations and standards.

“Moreover, the Origin is not innovation for its own sake. In the spirit of the US Department of Transportation’s six guiding principles for work on innovation in transportation, the Origin is in service of something greater: driving environmental sustainability, ensuring U.S. leadership in developing and manufacturing autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, supporting the American workforce, and promoting accessibility.

“Every Origin will be a zero-emission, shared, electric vehicle — helping to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil, as well as the emissions that disproportionately burden historically underserved communities. The Origin will help expand mobility options for seniors, people who are blind or have low vision, and other communities that have traditionally faced barriers in access to reliable transportation. And the Origin will be manufactured at GM’s Michigan Factory ZERO, supporting and creating American jobs, promoting economic growth, and advancing the long-term success of the US manufacturing sector and America’s automotive industry.

“The submission of this petition signals that Cruise and GM are ready to build and deploy the Origin, here in America. We look forward to NHTSA’s thorough review of our petition, and stand ready to continue working closely with them to ensure the safe and responsible deployment of this technology.”


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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).