Economy

US Updates Self-driving Car Guidelines

US Updates Self-driving Car Guidelines”

"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 U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a statement.

The Obama administration released largely voluntary guidelines for automated vehicles last fall, under which automakers are supposed to follow a 15-point safety assessment before putting test vehicles on the road.

The U.S. government has a message for the scores of companies racing to develop self-driving cars: We want to make your life easier.

Chao emphasized that the guidelines aren't meant to force automakers to use certain technology or meet stringent requirements; instead, they're created to clarify what autonomous vehicle developers should be considering before they put test cars on the road. The guidelines also made clear that the federal government - not states - would determine whether the vehicles were safe.

"We want to make sure those who are involved understand how important safety is", Chao said during a visit to an autonomous vehicle testing facility at the University of MI.

The framework from the Dept. of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, called A Vision for Safety 2.0, streamlines Obama administration guidelines released past year. The Department of Transportation is already planning for the next version 3.0 to make sure automated vehicles can be on the nation's roads safely and quickly. Instead, they're created to clarify what vehicle developers and states should consider as more test cars reach public roads.

Some consumer advocates said the policy placed too much trust in carmakers.

"This isn't a vision for safety", said John M. Simpson, head of privacy for a nonprofit progressive group called Consumer Watchdog.

Some traditional carmakers reportedly had lobbies for their self-driving vehicles to get preferential treatment over those developed by technology companies such as Alphabet's Waymo and Apple.

Chao said self-driving cars could help the blind and disabled and dramatically reduce crashes. The bill permits the deployment of up to 25,000 vehicles exempted from standards in its first year and 100,000 annually after that. That federal legislation would play a stronger role than the transportation department guidelines, and more importantly, would supersede state regulations.



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