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GM's Cruise Origin Could Be Approved to Deploy Without Human Controls

Published: 7.17.2023

The potential approval by federal vehicle safety regulators for General Motors to deploy its Cruise Origin automated people carriers marks a significant milestone in the self-driving car industry.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently reviewing GM's petition for a waiver to deploy the Origin without human-operated steering wheels and brakes. GM requires this waiver as the Origin is designed to be fully autonomous, with no human driver necessary. Presently, federal safety regulations mandate all vehicles to have manual controls, but NHTSA is contemplating a proposal to permit the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) without such controls.

If NHTSA grants GM's waiver, it would represent a substantial triumph for the self-driving car industry and open doors for other companies to follow suit. Nevertheless, there are dissenting voices expressing concerns about AVs without manual controls and their safety on public roads. Some safety advocates argue against their use, and certain labor unions fear potential job losses in the transportation sector due to AV deployment.

Despite these concerns, the self-driving car industry continues to gain momentum with Waymo, Uber, and other companies also making strides in AV development. NHTSA's decision could catalyze a rapid expansion of this sector.

The Future Ahead

NHTSA is expected to announce its decision on GM's waiver soon. If the waiver is granted, it is likely that other companies will be encouraged to deploy their AVs, leading to a significant expansion of the self-driving car industry.

However, it's essential to address various challenges before widespread adoption of AVs can occur. These include ensuring the safety of AVs, establishing ethical standards for their operation, and gaining public acceptance.

Despite the challenges, the self-driving car industry is poised for growth in the forthcoming years. As technology continues to advance and regulations evolve, the sight of AVs on roads will become increasingly commonplace.

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