US Regulates Driverless Car Usage; Implements Safety Assessment

Oct 03, 2016 04:30 AM EDT | Claire Ann Austria

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Safety is always the best and the top most priority. Upholding its commitment for a safe and orderly society, the White House, through the US Department of Transportations (DoT), will release guidelines for self-driving vehicles and automobiles.

The regulatory step shall start with DoT to publish a new document that contains "vehicle performance guidance for manufacturers, developers and other organizations." Such includes a safety assessment for automakers which entails 15 important points. Likewise, the act shall be patterned in accordance with the local legislation of the states of California, Florida and Nevada. It is noted that within these states, automated vehicles were already legalized.

Signifying its cooperation and approval of this government step is the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHTSA). The said administration pledged that it will solicit public opinion about whether or not it should approve the new self-driving models before making it available to the market.

However in March, car manufacturers insisted that their internal and own standards were good and enough for the market's approval. Until June came and the said claim of the car manufacturers were put in question when a certain Joshua Brown, a Tesla owner, died after his car's autopilot sensors failed to detect a large tractor trailer.

Highlights of the rules were the location and areas of operation of the self-driving cars, their speed of reaction during failure, their acts and alternatives after crashes and some rules on privacy protection - how the system data should be recorded for information haring, knowledge building and for crash reconstruction purposes. Methods for automated driving systems will also be outlined with validation and verification in the rules. Ethical laws will most probably be a major highlight to cure road accidents.

During a Senate hearing, legislators warned the car manufacturers that the governing body took a dim view of the industry's ability to self-regulate. Senators like Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal questioned car executives and later on had co-sponsored a 2015 bill to regulate self-driving automobiles. However, the bill was referred to committee and never returned to its origin floor.

Likewise, the guidelines will also put a heavy emphasis to the issue of cyber-security. The major reason for said guideline is the high-risk ability of hackers to break and take into control of these self-driving cars that are currently on the market.

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