The United States federal government has essentially give driverless vehicles a green light on by issuing formal regulations as to how they can be tested and eventually introduced to the mass market.
The Driverless Transportation website reports that in a conference call hosted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA), followed by a formal statement, the government outlined a four-part policy that guides regulations at the federal and makes recommendations for the states.
In essence, the policy says that any vehicle that can pass a 15-point safety inspection can move forward on the road to public adoption. The guidelines then outline how states can legally allow manufacturers to introduce the vehicle to the mass market.
The four main parts of the new policy are:
- 15-Point Safety Assessment: “The Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles for manufacturers, developers and other organisations includes a 15-point Safety Assessment for the safe design, development, testing and deployment of automated vehicles.” The assessment examines several areas of performance, such as cybersecurity concerns, how the car reacts to and recovers from system failures, ethics dilemmas, post-crash sharing of data with the NHTSA, and much more.
- Model State Policy: “Delineates the federal and state roles for the regulation of highly automated vehicle technologies as part of an effort to build a consistent national framework of laws to govern self-driving vehicles.”
- Current NHTSA Regulations/Options for Expediting Introduction: “Outlines options for the further use of current federal authorities to expedite the safe introduction of highly automated vehicles into the marketplace.”
- Modern Regulations/Identifying and Removing Obstacles: “Discusses new tools and authorities the federal government may need as the technology evolves and is deployed more widely.”
The statement points out that the new policies address both lower levels of automation, as well as vehicles capable of full automation.
The policy also addresses how recalls of automated vehicles should be handled, if they are ever necessary.