December 20, 2019 / 9:38 PM / 4 months ago

EXCLUSIVE-U.S. agency in talks with GM to deploy some cars without steering wheels

WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) acting chief said on Friday the agency is in talks with General Motors Co on its January 2018 petition to deploy a limited number of self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads without steering wheels or other human controls.

Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens told Reuters the agency hopes to make a decision soon on GM’s petition as well as a request by Softbank Corp-backed driverless delivery startup Nuro to deploy a limited number of low-speed, highly automated delivery vehicles without human occupants. “I expect we’re going to be able to move forward with these petitions soon — as soon as we can,” Owens said, adding action “definitely” would come next year.

“This will be a big deal because this will be the first such action that will be taken.” GM confirmed it has been in talks with NHTSA about the petition.

Nuro did not immediately comment. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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