20 Mar 2019

US Government Examines GM Request To Strip Cars of Controls

Hands-free driving could be closer than you think
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The US Department of Transportation has responded to GM’s request for exemptions when it comes to required features in vehicles designed to be autonomous - like steering wheels and brake pedals.

As reported by Automotive News, secretary Elaine Chao said that the department was “actively seeking public comment on proposed exemptions to federal standards and how the public can be protected as new transportation technologies emerge.”

Those exemptions are at the request of General Motors and its Cruise department - which is developing autonomous vehicle technology.

Last year General Motors and Cruise asked for the department to think about vehicles that wouldn’t need humans to drive them - and therefore wouldn’t need traditional controls.

The general public in the US have 60 days to comment on General Motors petition for an exemption from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards when it comes to what you’d find in an automobile - like say, a steering wheel.

The Transportation Department on Friday issued a request for comment on a petition from General Motors seeking an exemption from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that assumes a human drives a car and requires traditional controls.

General Motors petition on the standards could pave the way to more radical designs in autonomous vehicle design - with all legal vehicles plying the roads of the US currently required to be physically capable of being operated by a human, meaning autonomous vehicle tech being trialed is done in production models with new tech tacked-on.

The request for comments comes only a few days after Chao said that the Department of Transportation needed to be “innovation friendly.”

While she also said the department would “remain technology neutral”, she also announced a new body, the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology Council, which will look into tech like - you guessed it - autonomous vehicles.

After the 60-day comment period has lapsed, the department will decide on what to do with General Motors petition for exemptions to trial its autonomous technology on the road.

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