General Motors is looking to reinvent the wheel, by building a car without a steering wheel, pedals or gear selector, because it doesn’t need them.
The automaker on Friday revealed images of an autonomous car it’s hoping to put into production by 2019 and is petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for permission to do so.
If approved, it will likely be the first production vehicle of its kind to hit the road, two years before a similar proposal from Ford.
Based on the Chevy Bolt, the electric Cruise AV will initially be employed in a ride-hailing capacity and operate within a pre-determined, well-mapped ‘geo-fenced’ area, so it won’t be entirely off the leash.
Versions of the car with driver controls are currently being tested in San Francisco and Phoenix. They feature a large array of sensors on the roof that will be engineered to pass crash tests with the rest of the vehicle.
In a report about the project, GM details how the cars will be summoned by an app that automatically sets their climate controls and audio systems to the user’s preferences. Along with a display on the center stack, there are infotainment screens in the headrests of the front seats for rear passengers to use.
Riders will be able to communicate with a call center with issues, and there are buttons that will stop the vehicle and allow them to exit in the event of an emergency.
And the car doesn’t just drive itself, if you forget to close the door behind you it’ll do that itself without complaint before heading off to pick up another fare.