US Department of Transportation begins regulatory process for self-driving vehicle technology

The United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Thursday began a process for developing and issuing regulations governing the hardware and software used in self-driving cars. In issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on Automated Driving System (ADS) safety, the NHTSA said that even though wide-scale deployment of ADS-equipped vehicles is miles away, they have identified elements of a framework necessary for objectively defining and assessing satisfactory ADS systems. US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L.

Chao said that this rule-making will address "legitimate public concerns about safety, security and privacy without hampering innovation in the development of automated driving systems". The objective of the proposed framework is to define, assess, and manage the safety of ADS performance while simultaneously ensuring further innovation. The framework proposes safety measures including both the process and engineering mechanisms to contain risks.

The NHTSA has previously published recommendations to ADS developers and also proposed a notice-and-comment rule-making to remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to the development of vehicles with ADS. Currently, the NHTSA is seeking public comments on the manner in which the framework can and should be adopted to support the supervision of ADS systems.

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