AV Testing Needs Clear NHTSA Guidelines

Automotive News

December 2, 2019

The development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology — and the full realization of its "lifesaving benefits" — is being held back by an inefficient and fragmented regulatory environment.

In a recent Automotive News article, John Pye, vice president of the transportation group at Exponent, urges that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) needs to set clear compliance testing standards for autonomous vehicles. With current national standards tailored to conventional, human-driven vehicles — and exemptions stuck in processing for years at a time — AV researchers face a patchwork of state regulations, leaving many large companies to find their own way in a "regulatory gray area."

"Rule-makers don't need to reinvent the wheel to regulate autonomous vehicles," Pye says, "but they do need to add clarity to realize the full benefits of autonomous driving technology."

Given the billions of driving hours required to test and validate AV technologies, NHSTA should act quickly, Pye urges, to see the benefits of driverless cars realized on the road as soon as possible.

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