U.S. Department of Transportation Unveils New Guidance for Driverless Systems
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U.S. Department of Transportation Unveils New Guidance for Driverless Systems

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released new federal guidance for automated driving systems.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released new federal guidance for automated driving systems.

“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,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said. “The safe deployment of automated vehicle technologies means we can look forward to a future with fewer traffic fatalities and increased mobility for all Americans.”

“Automated Driving Systems (ADS): A Vision for Safety 2.0” calls for industry, state and local governments, safety and mobility advocates and the public to lay the path for the deployment of automated vehicles and technologies, according to the agencies.

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“In addition to safety, ADS 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,” Chao said.

“A Vision for Safety 2.0” builds on the previous policy and incorporates feedback received through public comments and Congressional hearings. The guidance paves the way for the safe deployment of advanced driver-assistance technologies by providing voluntary guidance that encourages best practices and prioritizes safety. The document also provides technical assistance to states and best practices for policymakers.

Specifically, the new voluntary guidance:

  • Focuses on SAE International levels of automation 3-5 – automated driving systems (ADSs) – conditional, high and full automation
  • Clarifies the guidance process and that entities do not need to wait to test or deploy their ADSs
  •  Revises unnecessary design elements from the safety self-assessment
  • Aligns federal guidance with the latest developments and industry terminology
  • Clarifies federal and state roles going forward

The guidance is intended to be flexible and to evolve as technology does. DOT and NHTSA are already planning for 3.0, the agencies noted.

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The guidance and more information on automated vehicles can be found at nhtsa.gov/av.

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