Dan Ammann, president of GM, told investors on December 30 that the potential revenue from a single autonomous vehicle working as a taxi is far greater than that of comparable cars sold by GM today. "That's why we believe this is a notable moment on the journey to full AV deployment".
The company claims it is the "first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or manual controls".
Without the need for a steering wheel or pedal, we wonder whether GM could take things a step further.
Would you get in a self-driving auto that has no steering wheel and no pedals? thinks so, and wants to test its newest autonomous-driving vehicle on public roads and highways starting in 2019.
Waymo, a company that used to be part of Google, has also "made a limited number of autonomous vehicles without steering wheels and pedals", according to The Associated Press.
Since acquiring Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based startup in 2016, GM and Cruise developed four generations of self-driving vehicles. GM has said its first production automated vehicles will be in some kind of ride-hailing or ride-sharing arrangement.
GM also released today a safety report for its self-driving cars, becoming the second automaker to do so.
GM is seeking approval for an autonomous vehicle which has no steering wheel and no pedals, and you can imagine the regulatory and red tape maze it has to navigate.
The automaker said it petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 16 specific exceptions to meet current federal safety standards with workarounds that accommodate the cars' unique nature.
GM declined to say where it would offer robot taxi service and how many cars might be involved.
"We're seeking to maintain the same, equal safety but to achieve the safety objectives of some standards in a different way", said Paul Hemmersbaugh, a former chief counsel for NHTSA who now serves as chief counsel for GM's mobility efforts. In further autonomous vehicle news, recent research reveals new depth sensors could make self-driving cars practical. That's the maximum number the government will now allow for each manufacturer.