Cruise, GM to seek U.S. approval for vehicle with no pedal or steering wheel

Oct 21 (Reuters) - Self-driving car firm Cruise said on Wednesday it and majority shareholder General Motors Co will be seeking U.S. regulatory approval in coming months to deploy the Cruise Origin, a vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals.

At the same time, it will withdraw an earlier exemption petition it filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seeking regulatory approval for an autonomous vehicle without pedals or a steering wheel, based on the Chevrolet Bolt platform.

NHTSA did not immediately comment.

Cruise unveiled the Origin, which only has two long seats facing each other that can comfortably fit four passengers, in January. GM plans to begin building the Origin in Detroit in late 2021 or early 2022.

The announcement, made in a blog post by Robert Grant, Cruise’s vice president of global government affairs follows a permit Cruise received last week by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to be the first to test cars without anyone in them on the streets of San Francisco. Four other companies have permits to drive empty in Silicon Valley cities that are easier to navigate.

Under current law, companies can seek an exemption from motor vehicle safety standards to deploy a limited number of vehicles for up to two years that do not meet existing federal rules. (Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee, David Shepardson, and Paul Lienert Editing by Nick Zieminski)