General Motors plans to test vehicles in fully autonomous mode in New York in early 2018, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The tests will include the first autonomous vehicles in Manhattan.

The planned testing by GM and its self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, will be the first by a Level 4 autonomous vehicle in the state, Cuomo said in a statement.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said in a statement, "New York is the ultimate proving ground for autonomous vehicle technology. We have a streetscape that is unrivaled in its scale and complexity, and so it's fitting that General Motors and Cruise Automation are finally bringing this technology here for testing and development."

A Level 3 car still needs a steering wheel and a driver who can take over if the car encounters a problem, while Level 4 promises driverless features in dedicated lanes.

A Level 5 vehicle is capable of navigating roads without any driver input and in its purest form would have no steering wheel or brakes.

GM and Cruise Automation will begin conducting tests in Manhattan with an engineer in the driver's seat to monitor the performance, and a second person in the passenger seat, the statement said.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera

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