DOT issues voluntary guidance for autonomous vehicles
In keeping with the deregulatory thrust of the Trump administration, the new guidance on autonomous vehicles from the U.S. Department of Transportation relies on voluntary safety measures by automakers. It is intentionally not an enforcement document, said DOT Sec. Elaine Chao when she introduced it. The auto industry has signaled its approval.
Under the Obama-era guidelines, automakers would voluntarily submit safety assessments showing that their autonomous vehicles could meet a set of 15 safety guidelines before they could be released on public roads. The Obama administration had said it might later make the safety assessments mandatory.
The new Guidance supports further development of this important new technology, which has the potential to change the way we travel and how we deliver goods and services, said Chao. In addition to safety, ADS [automotive driving systems] technology offers important social benefits by improving access to transportation, independence and quality of life for those who cannot drive because of illness, advanced age, or disability.
The Trump administrationês guidance says that automakers and other manufacturers of autonomous vehicles may issue voluntary self-assessments with concise information on how they are addressing safety elements issued in the DOT guidance. The voluntary safety self-assessment should not serve as an exhaustive recount of every action the entity took to address a particular safety element.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers approves of the new federal guidance, which helps avoid the patchwork of state laws that automakers feared.
This federal guidance is helpful in advancing road safety and safe testing, while also providing more clarity on the role of states, the Alliance said in a statement. The guidance proves the right balance, allowing emerging innovations to thrive while government still keeps a watchful eye over new developments.
The National Safety Council said it is pleased that safety plays a prominent role in the guidance. But voluntary guidelines will serve public safety best if all the players agree to comply with them, said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC.
Mandating additional safety measures, such as a clear disclosure, robust validation processes prior to deployment, and data sharing requirements will now fall to the Congress as both the House and Senate move their bills, Hersman said.
The 2018 Washington Auto Showês MobilityTalks International, Jan. 23-24, will feature discussion of the DOT guidance on automated driving systems along with many other aspects of the new technology. Click here for more information and here to register.Download Bulletin PDF