As it stands one of the rules required for self-driving cars to be tested is that it needs to have a steering wheel and controls and a human behind the wheel to takeover in case anything happens. However in the future, it is possible that we could see autonomous cars devoid of any such controls, and that’s a future GM is hoping will arrive sooner rather than later.
The carmaker has announced their plans to launch a fully autonomous car in 2019, one that does not feature a steering wheel, brake pads, or an accelerator pedal, a vehicle which will (hopefully) be part of the company’s ride-sharing fleet. They have also stated that in order for this to happen, they had to put in a request for the government to allow such a vehicle to be commercialized which would make it the “first production-ready vehicle designed from the start without a steering wheel, pedals or other unnecessary manual controls.”
Of course whether or not their request will be granted remains to be seen, but if it does, it should prove to be rather interesting especially in the development of self-driving cars. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who confirmed GM’s petition, “Safety is the (Transportation) department’s top priority. The department will review this petition and give it careful consideration.”