The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a ruling that opens the door to fully autonomous vehicles in the US.
Virtually every major automaker is working to develop and deploy autonomous vehicles, but regulations have been as much an impediment as the actual technology. The Department of Transportation’s NHTSA has taken a major step forward in addressing the regulatory issues with the first-of-its-kind safety standards, designed to protect passengers in vehicles with automated driving systems (ADS).
“Through the 2020s, an important part of USDOT’s safety mission will be to ensure safety standards keep pace with the development of automated driving and driver assistance systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This new rule is an important step, establishing robust safety standards for ADS-equipped vehicles.”
“As the driver changes from a person to a machine in ADS-equipped vehicles, the need to keep the humans safe remains the same and must be integrated from the beginning,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “With this rule, we ensure that manufacturers put safety first.”
In particular, the new standard stipulates that occupants of ADS-equipped vehicles must be afforded the same level of safety as a traditional vehicle provides.
The full content of the new rule can be accessed here.