One example, according to Hemmersbaugh, is a standard requiring vehicles to have airbags in steering wheels, which wouldn't be possible without a steering wheel. The Cruise AV, he said, has an airbag that mirrors the right front-passenger side that provides equivalent safety.
A representative for NHTSA, the nation's top auto safety regulator, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on the petition.
A federal waiver would allow GM to operate the vehicles in the seven or so states that don't currently have laws restricting such vehicles. In other states, the automaker would have to work with local officials to change the rules. The company declined to say where it would like to launch the fleets, which customers would hail via an app and engage with via touchscreens inside the vehicles.