NHTSA Extends Public Comment Period for Automated Guidance

The NHTSA panel listens to stakeholder feedback April 8th regarding guidelines for deploying automated vehicle technologies.

The NHTSA panel listens to stakeholder feedback April 8th regarding guidelines for deploying automated vehicle technologies.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has extended its deadline for industry insight on the agency’s development of guidelines for the “Safe Deployment and Operation of Automated Vehicle Safety Technologies.”

NHTSA held two public meetings, the first held in early April, seeking guidance.

“Comments continue to come in and requests have been made to extend the period to provide comments on this important topic,” according to a NHTSA statement.

Stakeholders have asked the safety administration to slow down its timetable to set guidance, saying there are still more questions than answers.

“A principal goal of the agency—and of all of the stakeholders involved in the process—should be avoiding a patchwork of different federal and state standards for automated technologies,” writes Michael Cammisa, senior director, safety and connected vehicles for the Association of Global Automakers. “Despite NHTSA’s important actions to date with respect to automated vehicles, many states have stepped into what they perceive to be a policy vacuum in the field. The result is that states such as California, Nevada, and Florida, have all enacted laws that will impact the way automakers design and manufacture automated vehicles.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Lindsey C. Williams, vice president of government relations for Delphi Automotive, shared some insight into the testing of automated vehicles, saying there is a need for definitions.

“There needs to be a clear distinction between specific levels of driving automation depending upon the operational characteristics and the expected role of the driver when the system is engaged. Properly defining automation will aid determination of the appropriate testing scenarios,” Williams writes.

While benefits of automated vehicles exist, there are limitations to this technology, writes Avery Ash, director of federal affairs for AAA.

“These systems all appear to currently have limitations based on road, weather and other conditions beyond the driver’s control. Drivers could rely too heavily on these systems, thus creating a situation that creates an unintended conscience in terms of safety through distraction,” Ash says.

NHTSA has extended the deadline to May 31, 2016.

To read more public comments or to submit your feedback, click here.

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