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Department of Transportation Unveils New Self-Driving Car Guidelines

The Department of Transportation (DOT), at the direction of Secretary Elaine Chao, has released a new set of guidelines for the development of self-driving vehicles. The guidelines serve as an update to a document the Obama Administration’s DOT released in September 2016.

The guidelines are entirely voluntary, which mirrors the nature of the DOT’s 2016 guidelines. The document contains 12 “Priority Safety Design elements,” aspects of automated vehicle design that the DOT recommends companies follow. They are:

  • System Safety
  • Operational Design Domain
  • Object and Event Detection and Response
  • Fallback (Minimal Risk Condition)
  • Validation Methods
  • Human Machine Interface
  • Vehicle Cybersecurity
  • Crashworthiness
  • Post-Crash ADS Behavior
  • Data Recording
  • Consumer Education and Training
  • Federal, State, and Local Laws
  • These guidelines come in an eventful time for autonomous vehicles. They were released shortly after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on September 6 that would significantly increase the safety exemption for self-driving cars for automakers, among other changes to policy (this bill will now be considered by the Senate). In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on September 12 ruled that the “operational design” of Tesla’s Autopilot played a role in a fatal 2016 crash.

    The full report, along with full descriptions of each of the safety guideline elements, can be viewed here.

    Copyright for Image: PhotographerStock Photo, License Summary.

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