Automated vehicles: humans optional


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced new federal voluntary guidance on the development and use of automated vehicles – with the goal of “removing unnecessary barriers” to innovation, reports NPR.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said on Oct. 4 that the department’s 80-page “guidance “supports the safe, reliable and cost-effective integration of automation into our country’s surface transportation systems.”

The department indicated it was open to changing current standards that require all cars to have steering wheels, brakes and accelerator pedals. In trying to develop future cars without drivers, those current safety requirements could “constitute an unintended regulatory barrier to innovation,” the DOT says.

The agency said it would seek comment on proposed changes and consider "the possibility of setting exceptions to certain standards.” The DOT also said it plans to “adapt the definitions of ‘driver’ and ‘operator’ to recognize that such terms do not refer exclusively to a human, but may include an automated system.” (Source: NPR

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