Multinational vehicle corporation General Motors faces pushback over its request that U.S. regulators waive some automobile safety standards for its driverless vehicle plan.
The proposed standards would make it possible to deploy a ride-sharing fleet of driverless cars without steering wheels or other human controls.
Reuters reports that General Motors first made the request for a two year waiver on features like mirrors, dashboard warning lights and turn signals designed for a human driver in a petition filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in January 2018.
General Motors has informed Reuters that it hoped to deploy no more than 2,500 modified Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles as part of a controlled on-demand ride-sharing fleet, likely to be based in San Francisco, by the end of 2019.
In March, NHTSA made the petition available for public comment for the 60 days. Several groups, including car dealers and insurers, raised questions posted publicly this week pressing NHTSA to demand more data, require additional safety provisions or deny the petition outright, according to Reuters.
The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies said driverless vehicles without human controls should not be permitted on public roads until data proves the cars are safe.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said General Motors should not be allowed to withhold safety features like high-beam headlights from the vehicle and should design the vehicle to require passengers to wear safety belts.
The Union of Concerned Scientists said the automaker should produce more data on how General Motors self-driving cars on the road now are performing with backup safety drivers and called for the petition to be rejected. This is because the union said that General Motors self-driving test vehicles in California with a backup driver in the front seat have been involved in at least 69 traffic collisions.
Reuters says that General Motors spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan declined to address specific comments. ‘We will review the many comments received and respond as appropriate,’ Ginivan said.