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NHTSA issues new rule for driverless vehicle developers

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The Biden Administration issued a final rule eliminating the need for automated vehicle manufacturers to equip fully autonomous vehicles with manual driving controls to meet crash standards.

These new rules were first proposed in March 2020 to suggest that automated vehicles should provide the same levels of occupant protection as human-driven vehicles, and to clarify what is required of manufacturers if and when they build vehicles without steering wheels or other traditional features. 

Carmakers and tech companies have faced a lot of issues when deploying automated driving system vehicles without human controls because of the current existing safety standards. 

Despite their innovative designs, vehicles with automated driving systems (ADS) technology must continue to provide the same levels of occupant protection as current passenger vehicles, ensuring that manufacturers are putting safety first. This new rule allows manufacturers to slightly reallocate costs by eliminating the need to install redundant traditional features like driver seats and steering wheels and developing the “driver’s” seat to be as safe as the passenger seat. 

The Center for Auto Safety, The National Safety Council, Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety all expressed concern or questioned the rule, suggesting that the agency is too premature, but most have suggested that looking at setting this kind of rule is still helpful and appropriate in the long run. 

Read the final rule here

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Jasmine KimB2B Content Manager

Jasmine is The Zebra’s newsroom content writer. With a background in journalism, she reports on breaking news, trends, mergers and acquisitions, and financial reports related to the insurance industry.