Self-driving or autonomous cars continue to evolve in their technological innovation. To date, the results are mixed with a few successes combined with multiple failures that have resulted in multiple motor vehicle accidents.
Establishing safety standards with consumer input
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the launch of regulatory proceedings with the goal of establishing new safety standards for this cutting-edge vehicle technology. Their goal is to gather public input on autonomous vehicles and concerns about not only safety but also the security and privacy that comes with automated driving systems.
The NHTSA hopes that the process will help establish best industry practices while providing much-needed data to consumers that would establish formal regulations and binding safety standards on the automated driving systems.
Specific functions on self-driving vehicles that will receive the most attention will include:
- Use of sensors
- Planning routes to destinations
- Detecting other drivers and vehicles and proper responses
- Executing driving functions as needed
To date, no regulations exist for Autopilot and other systems where hands can be kept off the wheel for an extended amount of time. In response, the NHTSA is looking into twelve crashes involving Tesla vehicles that revealed Autopilot was engaged at the time of the collision.
The goal of these proceedings is to establish legally binding safety standards on automated driving systems, providing not only guidance but also peace of mind to consumers interested in purchasing autonomous vehicles.
As with anything involving government entities and bureaucracies, final and codified rules will likely take several years to complete.