GM is asking the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for permission to publicly operate its Cruise AV which comes sans pedals and steering wheel.

According to Automotive News, the Cruise AV would have to bypass 16 safety standards that apply to human-driven vehicles, and exceptions or a re-writing of the rules would have to be granted. These safety standards regulate the most minute details of safety car operations – everything from proper mechanisms of windshield wiping and electric brake systems to specific requirements for the location of rearview mirrors.

With the Cruise AV’s unique specifications, many regulations would not fit. One example is required steering wheel airbags, which could not be implemented in a Cruise AV due to the lack of a steering wheel. Substituting a traditional steering wheel in the AV’s cockpit is a right front-passenger side airbag, which Chevrolet says meets the same level regarding safety standards.

Other waivers focus on obtaining approval from U.S. states that do not allow alterations, including the need for a licensed human driver behind the wheel.

If the U.S. Department of Transportation approves waivers or alterations per GM’s request, up to 2,500 AVs are expected to form the automaker’s first dedicated fleet.

The Cruise AV is the progeny of GM’s March 2016 purchase of Cruise Automotive for $1 billion. Based on the Chevrolet Bolt, it uses five LiDars, 16 cameras, and 21 radars to digest, interpret, and analyze its short and long-range surroundings to drive in the most challenging of scenarios. Testing has already begun in Arizona, California, and Michigan, with a proposed plan to hit New York in the first half of 2018 in the ultimate test of urban driving ability.

It will also serve as the brand’s flagship ride-sharing service vehicle, with app hailing capabilities similar to Navya’s Autonom Cab offering, packing all the benefits of a ride-hailing service such as inputting of destinations, in-car music setting, and route updates. The service is expected to launch in 2019.

Automotive News