The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released on Tuesday new federal guidance for Automated Driving Systems (ADS): A Vision for Safety 2.0. This latest guidance for automated driving systems to industry and States is designed to accelerate development of autonomous vehicles for a future with less traffic fatalities and improved mobility in the U.S.
A Vision for Safety is the Department’s new, non-regulatory approach to promoting the safe testing and development of self-driving vehicles. By offering a more flexible approach to these driver assistance technologies, the DoT hopes the country’s innovators will offer vehicles that are dramatically safer, efficient and that expand transportation options.
“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 Sept. 12 press release from the NHTSA. “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.”
A Vision for Safety 2.0 calls for industry, state and local governments, safety and mobility advocates and the public to lay the path for the deployment of automated vehicles and technologies. The ADS guidance is available online at https://www.nhtsa.gov/technology-innovation/automated-vehicles.
“In addition to safety, ADS technology offers important social benefits by improving access to transportation, independence and quality of life for those who cannot drive because of illness, advanced age or disability,” continued Chao.
A Vision for Safety 2.0 builds on the previous policy and incorporates feedback received through public comments and Congressional hearings. 2.0 paves the way for the safe deployment of advanced driver assistance technologies by providing voluntary guidance that encourages best practices and prioritizes safety. The document also provides technical assistance to States and best practices for policymakers.
Specifically, the new Voluntary Guidance:
- Focuses on SAE International Levels of Automation 3-5 – Automated Driving Systems (ADSs) – Conditional, High, and Full Automation;
- Clarifies the guidance process and that entities do not need to wait to test or deploy their ADSs;
- Revises unnecessary design elements from the safety self-assessment;
- Aligns Federal Guidance with the latest developments and industry terminology;
- Clarifies Federal and State roles going forward.
As automated technologies advance, so will the Department’s guidance. It is intended to be flexible and to evolve as technology does, and plans for a 3.0 are already in the works with DoT and NHTSA. The Guidance and more information on automated vehicles can be found at nhtsa.gov/av.