NHTSA seeks ways to clear the road for self-driving cars

The US agency is seeking input into how regulations can be smoothed out for autonomous vehicles.

The NHTSA has asked for feedback on the state of autonomous vehicles and how current US regulations can be refined to promote research and deployment.

The US National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report on potential rule changes on Friday, which states the agency is looking for comments "to identify any unnecessary regulatory barriers" to the deployment of autonomous vehicles on US roads.

NHTSA said that input relating to regulatory barriers is key, as well as any thoughts relating to hurdles companies face when attempting to test their self-driving vehicles.

Compliance problems are a serious problem for vendors researching and developing self-driving car technologies. In particular, the agency recognizes that vehicle designs "that are not equipped with controls for a human driver" are a stumbling block, such as a lack of a steering wheel, brakes, or accelerator pedals.

"Further, NHTSA seeks comments on the research that would be required to remove such barriers," NHTSA says.

The agency's key concern is to "safely lay a path for innovative automated vehicle designs and technology."

Companies including Tesla, Google, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and a wealth of others may be chomping at the bit to refine their self-driving technologies and vehicles, but the agency has to be cautious with how far the rules can be eased, and when.

01. November 2017

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