U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Tuesday introduced new federal guidelines for the emerging highly automated vehicle industry — including self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles — creating a framework that will help drive one of the most important new sectors in the national economy.
Foxx, joined by Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, outlined the framework that will form new federal regulations to govern how the self-driving industry goes forward.
Efforts are under way to create safety and operational standards at a time when nearly every major automaker, technology and ride-sharing firm is racing to compete in the nascent multibillion dollar industry. Its promise is to provide new levels of mobility for millions of Americans who currently cannot access personal transportation.
The federal plan calls for a 15-point safety assessment that would create the framework for the design, manufacture, testing and deployment of automated vehicles. It would ensure that cars would be crashworthy, have a mechanism to react to vehicle failure, be protected against hacking, and be able to share data, among other things.
The guidelines would influence how the federal government would split up jurisdictional issues with the states over which issues would be handled at what level — for example, issues of licensing, insurance, enforcement, etc.
Federal safety regulations would apply to vehicles fully automated with software, for example, while states would be in charge of vehicles with a driver in control, Foxx said.