Waymo has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remove regulatory barriers for vehicles without steering wheels and brake pedals, Reuters reports.
The self-driving division of Alphabet has been encouraging the NHTSA to loosen regulatory hurdles for autonomous vehicles that require car manufacturers to meet nearly 75 auto safety standards.
In a recent letter published in response to the NHTSA seeking public comment “on the removal of unnecessary regulatory barriers to the safe introduction of automated driving systems,” Waymo said the safety agency should look at the safety standards which assume a human is behind the wheel and proceed from there. By doing so, Waymo says regulation changes will “enable the timely deployment” of vehicles without traditional controls.
Waymo is not the only company asking for changes from the NHTSA. General Motors said “it is imperative that NHTSA continue to drive this critical dialogue with a sense of urgency so that the necessary regulatory evolution keeps pace with advancing technology.”
Similarly, both Lyft and Honda suggested the agency considers autonomous cars as a distinct vehicle class to help address current regulations shaped for cars with human drivers.
It will, however, take some time for such changes to be implemented. The NHTSA allegedly won’t start writing rules on different seating positions in passenger cars until March 2020, and it could take until 2025 before comprehensive changes are made to vehicle safety standards relating to autonomous vehicles.