This week, the White House released updated voluntary guidelines for autonomous vehicles. With these new guidelines, the United States takes away the need for car makers to gain regulatory approval before unrolling self-driving features. Each state has been advised to keep their focus on insurance, licenses, and registering; leaving the federal government to deal with anything linked to performance or safety.
Auto News Today advised that the rules have also changed when it comes to design elements that are ‘unnecessary’ from a safety self-assessment point of view for self-driving cars. The focus right now is on Level 3 to 5 autonomous cars, which covers a semi-autonomous vehicle to a fully self-driving auto.
Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary, recently commented on the decision around voluntary guidelines, versus hard laws, and she stated it was the proper approach when it came to technology that is constantly changing. She added that regulators will be able to bar self-driving cars in the future, if they are proven not to be safe.
Chao added that the updated and advanced guidelines goes through and links many concerns her administration had heard from users and stakeholders. She goes on to note that as technology continues to advance, her administration will continue to work to update and refine the guidance.
The update to the guidelines is thought to be a win for auto manufacturers and companies linked to autonomous technologies, who would rather work at a federal level than deal with the differing states and their varied requirements when it comes to regulating autonomous vehicles.
Recently, proposal to stop states from banning self-driving cars was signed off by the U.S. House of Representatives. Car companies can gain exemptions to test their autonomous vehicles without having to meet updated standards around auto safety within the first year. Still, automakers will need to prove specific safety competences are intact. The proposal now heads to the Senate.
It’s important to note: this isn’t the ‘end all and be all’ when it comes to these guidelines as U.S. regulators are getting organized to release an updated set of this guidance on self-driving cars; so, expect more changes coming down the pipe and soon.