The U.S. auto maker General Motors has formally asked permission from federal regulators to deploy its first driverless car fleet in 2019.
"General Motors filed a Safety Petition with the Department of Transportation for its fourth-generation self-driving Cruise AV, the first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or manual controls," GM announced in a news release on Friday.
GM has developed its autonomous cars with Cruise Automation, a Silicon Valley start-up the automaker acquired to speed up development.
The new self-driving vehicles are built at GM's assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan State, on the Chevrolet Bolt EV (electric vehicle) platform.
GM plans to deploy its self-driving vehicles first for ride-sharing service. Customers will use a mobile app to request a ride, just like they use ride-sharing today. The only difference is that customers will control the experience through buttons and touch screen tablets.
With a vision of zero crashes, zero emissions, GM claims that the driverless Cruise AV "has the potential to provide a level of safety far beyond the capabilities of humans."