NHTSA Considers Allowing Vehicles without ‘Transparent Glass’

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has extended the Public Comment period to September 21 on petitions that Ford and General Motors filed in July to advance their development and use of vehicles using self-driving features.

NHTSA published the rule request notice on July 21 with the public comment period open to August 22. It is now extending the Public Comment period for an additional 30 days, until September 21.

The companies are seeking two-year temporary exemptions from several Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that will help them develop, manufacture and test on public roads autonomous vehicles. These self-driving vehicles lack the usual manual controls available when operated by human drivers, such as steering wheels and pedals. If the exemption is granted, these vehicles could be on the road without windshield wipers, transparent glass, rear-view mirrors, and other driver controls.

The automakers seek to deploy up to 2,500 self-driving vehicles a year, the maximum allowed under the law, for ride sharing and delivery services. There is no plan currently to sell these types of vehicles to consumers.

NHTSA published the rule request notice on July 21 with the public comment period open to August 22. It is now extending the Public Comment period for an additional 30 days, until September 21. Several requests had been filed seeking additional comment time from organizations and municipalities including the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Center for Auto Safety and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the City of Oakland Department of Transportation. San Francisco has been the site of several autonomous vehicle tests thus far.

GM is seeking the exemption for the Cruise Origin that is to begin being manufactured next year. GM seeks exemptions from the standards such as transmission shift because it says the Origin is unlike a human and is programmed. Ford did not specify a particular vehicle for which it seeks the exemptions.

GM requested exemption from six FMVSS standards:

  1. FMVSS No. 102 Transmission shift position sequence, starter interlock and transmission braking effect;
  2. FMVSS No. 104 Windshield wiping and washing systems;
  3. FMVSS No. 108 Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment;
  4. FMVSS No. 111 Rear visibility;
  5. FMVSS No. 201 Occupant protection in interior impact; and
  6. FMVSS No. 208 Occupant crash protection.

Ford requested exemption from seven FMVSS standards:

  1. FMVSS No. 101 Controls and displays;
  2. FMVSS No. 102 Transmission shift position sequence, starter interlock and transmission braking effect;
  3. FMVSS No. 108 Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment;
  4. FMVSS No. 111 Rear visibility;
  5. FMVSS No. 126 Electronic stability control systems;
  6. FMVSS 135 Light vehicle brake systems; and
  7. FMVSS No. 138 Tire pressure monitoring systems.

If permission is granted by the agency the vehicles could be on U.S. roads without the basic features of cars as we know them such as steering wheels, pedals, transmission controls, windshield wipers, transparent glass, rear-view mirrors.

Any action taken by NHTSA might foreshadow the direction that it may take regarding the further introduction of ADAS vehicles on America’s roads.

The two NHTSA announcements can be read here:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/08/22/2022-18103/general-motors-receipt-of-petition-for-temporary-exemption-from-various-requirements-of-the-federal

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/08/22/2022-18102/ford-motor-company-receipt-of-petition-for-temporary-exemption-from-various-requirements-of-the

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1 Response to NHTSA Considers Allowing Vehicles without ‘Transparent Glass’

  1. Dave says:

    Personally, I feel like the manufacturers are getting ahead of themselves a bit, thinking totally autonomous vehicles and supporting infrastructure will be ready anytime soon. Aside from that, I wonder how first responders feel about having vehicles on the road where you can’t see inside at all until you tear open the car at the accident scene?

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