U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao released the latest suggested best-practices for implementing automated driving systems, with the goal of fully automated safety features such as highway autopilot being widely available by 2025.
The Department of Transportation said 94 percent of all serious crashes are attributed to driver error, a trend that it says technology can improve.
Named “A Vision for Safety 2.0,” the voluntary guidance offers recommendations to state legislatures that are considering bills on automated driving systems as well as to highway safety officials who will be testing and registering the vehicles. The guidance also seeks a path for deploying automated vehicles by engaging vehicle manufacturers and technology companies and prioritizing safety.
The Department of Transportation added that it builds on previous policy by incorporating public comments and discussions held during congressional hearings.
Specifically, the new voluntary guidance focuses on SAE International Levels of Automation 3 through 5 – conditional, high, and full automation of Automated Driving Systems – and clarifies that manufacturers, technology and safety experts can immediately begin testing or deploying autonomous vehicles. It also revises “unnecessary design elements” from the safety self-assessment and aligns federal guidance with the latest developments and industry terminology. Lastly, the guidelines clarify federal and state roles going forward.
“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 statement on Wednesday. “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.”
The Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are already planning a third phase of voluntary guidance to replace previous recommendations and to offer “a more flexible approach to advancing the innovation of automated vehicle safety technologies.”