Feds Talk Autonomous Vehicles With State Working Group

At the October 12 meeting of the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Working Group, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) representative Nat Beuse discussed the newly released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, a working document that he stressed would be updated annually. He highlighted that the policy is rooted in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s position that automated vehicles hold enormous potential to benefit safety, sustainability and mobility.

The policy features four components:

  • Automated vehicle performance guidance for manufacturers, developers and other organizations deploying the vehicles;
  • Model state policy, which Beuse stressed may change, and is premature for codification in state legislation;
  • Existing Federal regulatory tools that work to accelerate safe development of highly automated vehicles; and
  • Modern regulatory tools, or potential new tools that may further aid the safe and efficient deployment of these vehicles.

The Working Group reviewed components of the state model policy, generally finding that Maryland had at least identified many of the points it highlights. Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer specifically noted the importance of ensuring coordination with local jurisdictions when considering authorization for testing on public roads, incorporating any restrictions locals might desire for safety-sensitive locations, such as school and construction zones.

NHTSA is accepting public comment on the Federal policy through November 22, 2016 at www.transportation.gov/AV. The Working Group is currently compiling its comments to provide to NHTSA.