September 17, 2019

On October 10th NHTSA Published an ANPRM relating to an Automated Vehicle Collaborative Research Pilot Program

DATES: Comments on this document are due no later than November 26, 2018. This date has been subsequently extended.

EXERPTS: More specifically, NHTSA requests comments on the following topics related to ADS safety research. First, NHTSA seeks comments on potential factors that should be considered in designing a pilot program for the safe on-road testing and deployment of vehicles with high and full driving automation and associated equipment. Second, the Agency seeks comments on the use of existing statutory provisions and regulations to allow for the implementation of such a pilot program. Third, the Agency seeks comment on any additional elements of regulatory relief (e.g., exceptions, exemptions, or other potential measures) that might be needed to facilitate the efforts to participate in the pilot program and conduct on-road research and testing involving these vehicles, especially those that lack controls for human drivers and thus may not comply with all existing safety standards. Fourth, with respect to the granting of exemptions to enable companies to participate in such a program, the Agency seeks comments on the nature of the safety and any other analyses that it should perform in assessing the merits of individual exemption petitions and on the types of terms and conditions it should consider attaching to exemptions to protect public safety and facilitate the Agency’s monitoring and learning from the testing and deployment, while preserving the freedom to innovate.

NHTSA believes it is prudent to facilitate the conducting of research and gathering of data about these new and developing technologies in their various iterations and configurations.

The purpose of this ANPRM is to obtain public views and suggestions for steps that NHTSA can take to facilitate, monitor and learn from on-road research through the safe testing and eventual deployment of high and full automated vehicles, i.e., Level 4 and 5 1 ADS vehicles, primarily through a pilot program.

This ANPRM focuses on the related question of how the Agency can best encourage and facilitate the necessary research to allow for the development and establishment, as needed, of standards for ADS vehicles, including vehicles that have unconventional designs, can operate in ‘‘dual modes’’ (one of which may involve unconventional designs), and can comply with the existing FMVSS.