NHTSA Extends Public Input on General Motors and Ford Self-Driving Petitions

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Thursday extended the deadline for public input on General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor (NYSE:F) petitions seeking to deploy a limited number of self-driving vehicles without human controls.

The 30-day extension was made at the automakers’ request after several cities like San Francisco and Oakland, along with state transportation agencies, the National Association of City Transportation Officials and others sought further time to analyze the exemption requests.

San Francisco said petitions raise “numerous complex technical and policy issues involving vehicle safety that necessitate significant analysis.” And noted that it “is the location with the most intensive testing of automated vehicles to date… As such, we have valuable insights to offer and stand to be significantly affected by the outcome of the petition.”

Both automakers want to deploy up to 2,500 vehicles annually, the maximum allowed under law. These vehicles would be without steering wheels or pedals and would primarily be used for ride sharing and delivery services.

In 2018, GM petitioned the NHTSA to allow a car built without steering wheels or brake pedals on U.S. roads. In late 2020, GM withdrew the petition.

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