Regulation Changes To Allow Vehicles Without Steering Wheels On U.S. Roads

Alterations made to safety rules by the Trump administration are set to permit fully self-driving vehicles without features like a steering wheel, pedals and mirrors on public roads.

According to a document made public late last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to “reconsider the necessity and appropriateness of its current safety standards” for self-driving vehicles. The regulator’s 80-page report, dubbed ‘Automated Vehicles 3.0,’ also says that current safety requirements could “constitute an unintended regulatory barrier to innovation.”

Reuters reports that key changes could be made to regulations that aren’t relevant when human drivers are in control. As it stands, automakers need to meet almost 75 auto safety standards in the country, many of which assume that a human driver is controlling the vehicle.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao spoke about the potential changes during a government event. She said that autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes and deaths on roads throughout the nation.

The NHTSA has yet to specify when altered regulations for self-driving vehicles could come into effect.

Regardless of the timeline, many large car manufacturers and technology companies will be pleased to know that the government is actively trying to safely encourage and support the introduction of driverless vehicles.

In January, General Motors filed a petition for an exemption to the current rules for vehicles without steering wheels and other human controls which it wants to introduce as part of a ride-sharing fleet in 2019. Waymo has also been pushing for regulation changes to suit the development of its autonomous tech.

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  • Jay

    Losing power is one thing but its a bit worse if you can’t even steer it in neutral..

  • ksegg

    Airplanes can take off, cruise, and land by themselves too.

    Doesn’t mean I want to get into one without a skilled pilot and co-pilot at the helm.

    Shit happens, and there are going to be situations when computers and sensors simply won’t know what to do, and you need an experienced human at the controls.

  • lagunas3ca

    General Motors out here dreaming.

  • Craig

    5,000 people a year choke to death on food in the US. I think solid foods should be banned. An all liquid diet would save thousands of lives every year.


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