ADS Barriers Public Meeting Recap
Washington, D.C. —The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is committed to the safe testing and deployment of Automated Driving Systems (ADSs) and on March 6, 2018, hosted a listening session to identify any regulatory barriers in the existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) to the testing, compliance certification, and compliance verification of motor vehicles with ADSs and certain unconventional interior designs.
NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King opened the meeting and emphasized that the first priority of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, DOT, NHTSA, and every member of their teams, is safety. “This does not in any way, shape or form change that. We, in fact, look at the technology as a way to enhance safety. We do not—by discussing regulatory barriers—in any way, shape or form indicate any change in that. Safety is our first priority. The technology, we believe, as we’ve all discussed, has tremendous potential. We want to make sure we’re identifying the safe ways to remove the impediments to seeing safety-enhancing technologies deployed.”
King highlighted that DOT and NHTSA’s interest is in updating the regulatory scheme that was written and promulgated back before any of us even imagined the technologies that we now see before us. She also stressed the need to better understand the research that is necessary toward this end, but also for the willingness for all to be involved in sharing of research, information, data and analysis, and ideas to help with updating the regulatory system. King expressed appreciation for all stakeholders taking part in the Listening Session and for continued dialogue, including at NHTSA’s upcoming research portfolio meeting on March 16, 2018.
During the morning portion of the meeting, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance), and the Association of Global Automakers (Global Automakers) each gave presentations on ongoing efforts in assessing FMVSSs and potential hindrances to innovative technologies. VTTI and the Auto Alliance provided PowerPoint presentations. Global Automakers gave oral remarks. The formal presentations have been submitted to the Federal Register docket at Docket No. NHTSA-2018-0009. The American Association of People with Disabilities, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, American Trucking Associations, Consumers Union, and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety also provided remarks.
Close to 150 people attended the session, with many more participating via LIVE webcast. The listening session allowed the disability community, safety advocates, industry, and the public an opportunity to provide public comments. Organizations represented included the American Association of Retired Persons, American Association of People with Disabilities, National Council on Independent Living, Center for Auto Safety, Automotive Safety Council, AAA National, National Automobile Dealers Association, National Electrical Manufacturer Association, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, National Federation of the Blind, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Motorcycle Industry Council, National League of Cities, Consumers Union, Center for Auto Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Auto Alliance, Global Automakers, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, American Trucking Associations, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
In response to a request, NHTSA extended the comment period on the Removing Regulatory Barriers for Vehicles with Automated Driving Systems Request for Comment (RFC) to March 20, 2018. NHTSA will be taking comments from the meeting into consideration, along with the public comments in the docket (NHTSA-2018-0009) as the agency moves forward in considering next steps and possible regulatory updates.
Interested individuals may submit public comments at Regulations.gov or mail to NHTSA at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, or hand-deliver between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Call 202-366-9826 for more information.