NHTSA Looks To Remove Self-Driving Car Regulations

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants input from the industry in finding ways to remove regulatory issues that prevent the rollout of autonomous vehicles.

Reuters, citing a report from the NHTSA, reported that the government agency wants to identify any unnecessary regulations that serve as barriers to widespread adoption of self-driving cars. It is particularly interested in those “that are not equipped with controls for a human driver,” Reuters reported. The agency is also seeking feedback on what research it should conduct before choosing which regulations to eliminate and which ones to rewrite.

As the report noted, it may take the NHTSA years to complete its research and come up with changes to the rules. In a statement to Reuters, it said it is gearing up to issue a formal notice in the “near future requesting comment.” The policy notice should be out by the end of November, according to the report.

As it currently stands, Reuters reported, car manufacturers have close to 75 auto standards they have to achieve with their self-driving cars, many of which were written assuming a licensed driver would be behind the wheel. Earlier in the month, a Senate committee agreed to green-light a bill that would speed up the use of autonomous cars that don’t have a driver controlling it.

Most of the car makers – including General Motors, Alphabet and Ford – had pushed hard for the legislation, noted Reuters. They have all vowed to keep fighting regulatory hurdles that would prevent this potentially huge market from taking off.

With the bill, car makers would get exemptions from the NHTSA for certain safety rules for as many as 80,000 vehicles in a three-year time frame. The NHTSA is also required to write permanent rules for autonomous vehicles within 10 years, noted the report.


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