GM’s plan to deploy self-driving Cruise Origin on hold as feds weigh exemption request

General Motors’ mission to get 5,000 self-driving Cruise Origin vehicles in cities nationwide hangs on whether federal regulators will grant the automaker’s request to exempt the vehicle from federal safety standards.

GM plans to start building the Origin at Factory Zero in Detroit/Hamtramck this year but needs approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to put the vehicles on the roads. The Origin is a small bus-like vehicle that will transport up to six people without a driver. It operates through autonomous technology and has no manual steering controls or pedals…

That government approval depends on how satisfactorily GM answers some big questions NHTSA is asking about the operational safety of the self-driving cars Cruise already has on roads now. In some cases, those cars have caused traffic backups and other public safety disruptions.