"What's really special about this is if you look back 20 years from now, it's the first vehicle without a steering wheel and pedals", said Kyle Vogt, chief executive of Cruise Automation, the San Francisco-based unit developing the software for GM's self-driving cars.
The carmaker's self-driving arm, Cruise Automation, on Friday unveiled the latest version of its autonomous vehicle - and the manual controls have been removed.
One feature will be the car's ability to close the door itself if the passenger fails to, said Doug Parks, GM vice president of autonomous technology.
GM will run the cars in a test batch for a ride-sharing programme starting in 2019, and they won't be without a safety net.
"When you don't have a steering wheel, it makes no sense to talk about an airbag in a steering wheel", Paul Hemmersbaugh, GM's policy director for autonomous vehicles, told reporters.
GM's experiment will be a significant step forward for self-driving cars.
The Cruise Automation team is now testing its self-driving Chevy Bolt - with a human backup - in Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco.
The company declined to identify the first states in which it plans to launch the vehicle or say when it would begin testing. There are about 16 motor vehicle safety regulations that do not apply to driverless cars, such as those dealing with airbags in a steering wheel when there is no steering wheel. In October GM had built about 50 vehicles for testing by Cruise employees in the Bay Area.
The automaker is not saying where and when in 2019 it will first deploy the autonomous ride-share vehicles although California seems like a safe bet. Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt also said we likely won't see this new Cruise AV on streets even in a test capacity before next year.
The Uber and Waymo test vehicles still have steering wheels and pedals. Cruise's auto had to navigate construction blocking the lane more than 18 times as often in the Bay Area and had to deal with emergency vehicles 270 times, versus six Phoenix encounters, according to the report.