DOT issues autonomous vehicle guidelines

DOT issues autonomous vehicle guidelines

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued long-awaited federal guidelines for autonomous vehicles. Automakers had looked forward to the guidelines, eager to avoid a patchwork of state laws similar to the one that had threatened to upend national standards on fuel economy before the 2012 rules.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called the new guidelines a –culture change” for DOT, expressing, as they do, support for an innovative technology that has not been completely proven. Safety considerations are the overriding factor.

–Automated vehicles have the potential to save thousands of lives, driving the single biggest leap in road safety that our country has ever taken,” Foxx said.

The guidelines use a 15-point Safety Assessment to set clear expectations for OEMs developing and deploying automated vehicle technologies. Automakers are asked to sign and submit the safety assessment to certify that their vehicles are ready for public roads.

The guidelinesê model state policy delineates the federal and state roles in regulating the vehicle technologies.

Overall, the guidelines call for what Reuters terms –deeper government involvement in the design of autonomous vehicle systems.” For instance, DOT asks manufacturers to share information on how their autonomous systems work and why they fail. And the Department of Transportation specifically asks what OEMs are doing to prevent hacking of the systems and to protect consumer privacy.

Foxx said he will seek to make the voluntary guidelines mandatory. They will be updated at least annually.

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