The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) today to gather public input to address potential challenges in making automated driving system-dedicated vehicles (ADS-DVs) compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) crash avoidance requirements.

Although NHTSA previously published agency guidelines for development and deployment of ADS technologies, the agency still faces barriers in testing, certification, and compliance verification. Stakeholders said NHTSA needs to further research to address those barriers.

More specifically, NHTSA said the main barriers are in how to avoid crashes without traditional manual controls, maintain safety for all road users, soften potential impacts to the environment and workforce, and regulate data acquisition, use, and protection, among other concerns.

But before NHTSA begins to research and develop strategies to overcome these barriers, the agency said its FMVSSs need to contain codified provisions to further guide those efforts. The ANPRM published today is the first of three documents NHTSA will issue in developing and implementing a strategy to update FMVSSs to include ADS-DVs.

NHTSA provided a list of options it has considered in approaching revisions to crash avoidance test procedures for ADS-DVs, including:

  • Normal ADS-DV operation;
  • Test mode with pre-programmed execution;
  • Test mode with external control;
  • Simulation;
  • Technical documentation for system design and/or performance approach; and
  • Use of surrogate vehicles with human controls.

The ANPRM requests that public comment addresses potential advantages and disadvantages of each approach, if the approaches fit the requirements of the Safety Act, and if they enable effective enforcement of the FMVSSs, among others.

NHTSA will accept comments until July 29, 2019. Comments can be sent via mail, in-person delivery, or online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal.


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Melissa Harris