Published: Fri, September 08, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

U.S. to unveil revised self-driving auto guidelines

U.S. to unveil revised self-driving auto guidelines

Today, the US House of Representatives passed the "Self Drive Act", which prevents US states from creating any laws that regulate the development and performance of autonomous vehicles, putting that power exclusively in the hands of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"The Coalition is grateful for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's bipartisan leadership on the SELF DRIVE Act, and we look forward to working with members of the House and Senate to enact autonomous vehicle legislation that enhances safety, creates new mobility opportunities, and facilitates innovation", the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets wrote in a Wednesday statement. Experts have said that self-driving cars will drastically reduce road fatalities, most of which are caused by human error. Under the Self Drive Act, Uber's still required to report it.

Soon, you could start seeing more self-driving cars on the road.

Companies like Google-owned Waymo, Telsa, Uber, and longtime automotive manufacturers such as General Motors, have had to tiptoe around strict regulations in their testing of autonomous auto tech, and this legislation would certainly remove some of those road blocks. Performance standards would be left to design by the federal government, while states would retain ownership of rules on licensing, registration, insurance and safety inspection. But with a fully autonomous vehicle, the auto becomes the driver, disrupting how regulation has long worked. Exemptions in the bill allow automakers to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles in the first year if they meet existing automotive safety standards.

The consumer watchdog group said that while autonomous vehicles may improve road safety, the bill's provisions on data privacy and security "should be significantly stronger". In three years, the cap would jump to 100,000 annually.

Another interesting tidbit to note is that the bill would override any state-level laws prohibiting the testing of autonomous vehicle technology within state lines, effectively rendering the entire United States a testing ground for unproven self-driving systems.

In terms of safety, the SELF DRIVE Act addresses additional concerns.

The Trump administration meanwhile will put its first formal stamp on autonomous vehicle policy when the U.S. Transportation Department releases updated deployment guidance later this month.

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