The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released new voluntary guidelines for self-driving vehicle and systems testing and use, seemingly paving the way to a rapid deployment of the tech over the coming years.
The new guidelines — dubbed A Vision for Safety 2.0 — further develop earlier guidelines by explicitly stating that states and companies do not need to wait on federal approval to begin testing automated driving systems. The US Department of Transportation is reportedly already working on the new (3.0) version of the 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,” commented US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao. “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.”
Engadget provides some background context for the news: “US legislation for self-driving cars first made its way to the House of Representatives this past July. The bipartisan SELF DRIVE Act passed the House vote on September the 6th, and will now need to go through the Senate. Odds are that we’ll see autonomous cars on the road sooner rather than later.”
For more on that, see our previous coverage: “US House Passes SELF DRIVE Act For Autonomous Car Testing.”
Relating to the release of the new guidelines, the NHTSA made note of the fact that around 94% of serious auto collisions are the result of human error — as a way of demonstrating the potential for self-driving vehicle tech to reduce auto collisions and associated fatalities.
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