GM Petitions Nat’l Highway Traffic Safety Admin to Approve Self-Driving Car without Steering Wheel

Activist Post – by BN Frank

Numerous safety issues have been identified with Teslas (see 123456789) and other companies’ Autonomous Vehicles (AVs).  In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently opened its second investigation into Tesla vehicles (see 12).  Nevertheless, GM is asking the agency for approval to deploy its self-driving car that has NO steering wheel.

From Ars Technica:

Driverless cars —

GM seeks US approval to deploy self-driving car without a steering wheel

NHTSA to review safety of driverless Cruise Origin before possible 2023 deployment.

Jon Brodkin

GM’s Cruise subsidiary has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for permission to put the driverless Cruise Origin into commercial service. Cruise announced the filing of its petition for approval on Friday, saying the car is “a zero-emission, shared, electric vehicle that has been purposefully 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.”

Cruise said its petition, filed together with parent company GM, “demonstrates how the Origin achieves safety objectives of existing standards and helps enable future AV [autonomous vehicle] regulations.” The vehicles will be manufactured at GM’s “Factory ZERO” in Michigan, Cruise’s announcement said. “Production is expected to begin in late 2022 in Detroit at a GM factory with vehicles delivered in 2023, Cruise said Friday,” according to Reuters.

US law allows companies to seek temporary exemptions from safety rules to deploy up to 2,500 vehicles. GM previously sought an exemption for an earlier design based on the Chevy Bolt; the NHTSA took public comment on the request for an exemption in early 2019, and GM withdrew the petition in 2020.

Cruise argued that driverless taxi service using the Origin will benefit people who cannot drive or who don’t have easy access to transportation. “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,” the company said.

Cruise taking sign-ups in San Francisco

Three weeks ago, Cruise started taking sign-ups for people who want to take a ride in a driverless car in San Francisco. That limited deployment was authorized by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. It uses the self-driving car based on the Chevy Bolt, as the Cruise Origin hasn’t been deployed yet.

Alphabet’s Waymo division began providing its self-driving ride-hailing service in San Francisco in August 2021. Waymo was already offering the service in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. Several other companies are planning driverless cars as well.

GM is the majority owner of Cruise, which also has investments from SoftBankHondaMicrosoft, and Walmart. Here’s another view of the Cruise Origin from Friday’s announcement:

Driverless or not, according to a January 2022 article published in Wired, Americans are “refusing to fall in love” with Electric Vehicles (EVs).  Maybe it has to do with all the recalls – including GM models – due to battery fires (see 123456) and fires, in general, that are difficult to extinguish.

In addition to fire risks, other issues have been identified with EVs as well including:

  • expensive service costs (see 12)
  • environmental destruction caused by mining for EV lithium batteries
  • high levels of biologically and environmentally harmful electromagnetic radiation emissions (see 1234)

Got pets?  Exposure can affect them too.

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