NHTSA Strict on State Testing of Driverless Cars and then Loosens Up

SITUATION:

  • Nation¬≠al High¬≠way Traf¬≠fic Safe¬≠ty Admin¬≠is¬≠tra¬≠tion is deal¬≠ing with ‚Äútoo much too lit¬≠tle‚ÄĚ quandary over how dri¬≠ver¬≠less cars should be reg¬≠u¬≠lat¬≠ed.
  • NHTSA just issued its most detailed state¬≠ment on it so far ‚Äď wants to see dri¬≠vers test¬≠ing out these cars to get extra train¬≠ing and spe¬≠cial licens¬≠es to prove they can safe¬≠ly oper¬≠ate these vehi¬≠cles on pub¬≠lic roads ‚Äď and only test vehi¬≠cles on roads for now.
  • AND, the agency warned states against impos¬≠ing too many spe¬≠cif¬≠ic guide¬≠lines on this rapid¬≠ly chang¬≠ing tech¬≠nol¬≠o¬≠gy.
  • NHTSA expects to see lim¬≠it¬≠ed self-dri¬≠ving capa¬≠bil¬≠i¬≠ty by 2020 and ful¬≠ly autonomous vehi¬≠cles by 2025 in sig¬≠nif¬≠i¬≠cant num¬≠bers; right now, a few states, includ¬≠ing Neva¬≠da, Cal¬≠i¬≠for¬≠nia, and Flori¬≠da, have passed laws that allow for test¬≠ing of dri¬≠ver¬≠less cars on pub¬≠lic streets.
  • Reg¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tors very enthu¬≠si¬≠as¬≠tic about pro¬≠mot¬≠ing research on self-dri¬≠ving cars with its poten¬≠tial for reduc¬≠ing high¬≠way crash¬≠es and deaths and for curb¬≠ing emis¬≠sions.

SIGNIFICANCE:

  • Deputy NHTSA Admin¬≠is¬≠tra¬≠tor David Fried¬≠man said guide¬≠lines aimed at advis¬≠ing states on how to ensure that autonomous vehi¬≠cles can co-exist safe¬≠ly with oth¬≠er vehi¬≠cles on roads.
  • One issue NHTSA wants to see test¬≠ed and dealt with is how much warn¬≠ing dri¬≠vers need of a prob¬≠lem that requires them to retake con¬≠trols of a car that has been dri¬≠ving itself.
  • NHTSA doc¬≠u¬≠ment also defined five lev¬≠els of automa¬≠tion in these cars to clear up any con¬≠fu¬≠sion on how agency sees the tech¬≠nol¬≠o¬≠gy ‚Äď from ‚ÄúLev¬≠el O‚ÄĚ cars where dri¬≠vers have full con¬≠trol to ‚ÄúLev¬≠el 4‚ÄĚ which are ‚Äúfull self dri¬≠ving automa¬≠tion‚ÄĚ.
  • Google cars have ‚ÄúLev¬≠el 3‚ÄĚ with its ‚Äúlim¬≠it¬≠ed automa¬≠tion‚ÄĚ ‚Äď cars use laser sen¬≠sors and map¬≠ping tech¬≠nol¬≠o¬≠gy.
  • Gen¬≠er¬≠al Motors is ‚Äúencour¬≠aged that NHTSA rec¬≠og¬≠nizes greater reg¬≠u¬≠la¬≠to¬≠ry con¬≠sis¬≠ten¬≠cy and indus¬≠try col¬≠lab¬≠o¬≠ra¬≠tion can help put these tech¬≠nolo¬≠gies on the road quick¬≠er.‚ÄĚ

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