"Automated vehicles open up possibilities for saving lives, saving time and saving fuel," Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said at a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year.
Currently, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) are written for human-controlled vehicles. According to a recent report from the Volpe Center, if the FMVSS is not brought up to date to include autonomous driving technology, self-driving cars "may face significant challenges to certification.
"Automated vehicles that begin to push the boundaries of conventional design (e.g., alternative cabin layouts, omission of manual controls) would be constrained by the current FMVSS," the report said.
In February, fully autonomous vehicles won a major victory when NHTSA sent a letter to Google explaining that the artificial intelligence used to pilot Google's autonomous vehicle could be viewed as the "driver" for some (not all) regulatory purposes.
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