NHTSA Issues Statement as Feds Grapple with Safety Policies for Automated Cars

The “Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles” released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that it expects new major developments to be made on vehicles within 10 to 20 years.

It expects these innovations will make a significant difference in terms of environmental friendliness, increased safety, better mobility and the additional opportunities for employment and investment.

Anticipated New Developments

The policy talks about a wide variety of innovations. Some of these include:

  • Self-driving vehicles
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle communications that help avoid crashes
  • Crash avoidance systems that release various warnings and automated control of safety functions

Benefits of the Policy

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that it is releasing its policy statement so that states can safely implement these new technologies.

The agency believes that these technologies can prevent a significant number of crashes, resulting in less loss of human life, fewer hospital stays, fewer missed days of work and significant reductions in property damage. The agency also believes that making the policy now can help execute a future course for the development of these technologies.

New Developments in Autonomous Vehicles

Google and Volvo have begun designing and testing self-driving cars. Audi is also working to design an autonomous vehicle. Toyota revealed its own self-driving car at the Detroit Auto Show in the form of a modified Lexus. Florida and two other states have established laws that would allow self-driving vehicles to be operated under specific conditions.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not recommend all states to permit the operation of self-driving vehicles outside of testing purposes. The administration believes that technical and human performance issues must first be addressed before allowing the vehicles to be further permitted on roadways.

It states that the vehicles are not yet ready for members of the general public to use. Furthermore, it advises the public to be prepared to take the wheel if the automated technology failed.

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