Latest Version of Federal Automated Vehicle Guidance Provides Best Practices for States, Paves the Way for Fully Driverless Vehicles
The U.S. Department of Transportation is out this week with the latest iteration of its guidance on automated vehicle policy. The 3.0 version is entitled “Preparing for the Future of Transportation” and as in past versions, it includes a section that seeks to define the role that state governments should play on the road to automation. In addition to a look at the guidance, I have a variety of links to articles and reports on autonomous vehicle policy and industry developments from the last few months.
The Role for State Governments in AV Policy
The updated version of the voluntary guidance is the result of what U.S. DOT said was “extensive stakeholder engagement” and offers policy considerations for a range of different sectors that touch automated vehicle policy.
As in the 2016 and 2017 versions of the guidance, “Automated Vehicles 3.0” notes that state, local and tribal governments have clearly defined roles in ensuring the safety and mobility of road users, roles that are unlikely to change significantly with the deployment of automated vehicles. These include: licensing human drivers, registering motor vehicles, enacting and enforcing traffic laws, conducting safety inspections, and regulating motor vehicle insurance and liability. In addition, they’re responsible for planning, building, managing and operating roadways and transit.
The document suggests several ways state, local and tribal governments can prepare for automated vehicles, including by:
- Reviewing laws and regulations that may create barriers to testing and deploying automated vehicles;
- Adapting policies and procedures, such as licensing and registration, to account for automated vehicles;
- Assessing infrastructure elements, such as road markings and signage, so they are conducive to the operation of automated vehicles; and
- Providing guidance, information, and training to prepare the transportation workforce and the general public for automated vehicles.
What’s New for 2018?
While many of the best practices identified in 2017’s “A Vision for Safety 2.0” remain recommended in the 2018 version, U.S. DOT is also recommending some additional safety-related best practices when state legislators are crafting automated vehicle legislation. Among them:
- Engaging U.S. DOT on legislative technical assistance. The document notes that “unnecessary or overly prescriptive state requirements could create unintended barriers for the testing, deployment, and operations of advanced vehicle safety technologies.”
- Adopting terminology defined through voluntary technical standards. The document recommends using terminology used by organizations like the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, which has defined the different levels of automation.
- Assessing state roadway readiness. The document notes that “automated vehicle developers are designing their technologies with the assumption that these technologies will need to function with existing infrastructure” so “greater uniformity and quality of road markings, signage and pavement condition would be beneficial for both human drivers and automated vehicles.”
The guidance also includes a couple of new best practices for state highway safety officials. Among them:
- Considering test driver training and licensing procedures for test vehicles; and
- Recognizing issues unique to entities offering automated mobility as a service. The document notes these issues could include “congestion or the transportation of minors, persons with disabilities, and older individuals.”
In addition, “Automated Vehicles 3.0” lists a number of considerations for local governments, noting that “automation provides an opportunity to address local goals, including making more land available for housing and business, as well as improving transportation options for citizens who are not motorists.” Among the topics local governments may want to consider as they formulate policies:
- Facilitating safe testing and operation of automated vehicles on local streets;
- Understanding the near-term opportunities that automation may provide, such as automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection and applications for municipal fleets and passenger shuttles;
- Considering how land use, including curb space, will be affected by automated driving. The guidance notes that “there may be an opportunity to reallocate curb space from long term parking to other uses, including pick-up and drop-off. Furthermore, if vehicle ownership declines, minimum parking requirements in zoning may need to be revisited, freeing up land for other purposes. Finally, in such an environment, revenue from parking fees and fines may be reduced.”
- Considering the potential for increased congestion, and how it might be managed; and
- Engaging with citizens.
But it’s a couple of other things that are new in version 3.0 that are receiving perhaps the most attention so far. The document says that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will reconsider the “necessity and appropriateness of its current safety standards” as applied to vehicles equipped with automated driving system technologies. NHTSA will look to change safety standards “to accommodate automated vehicle technologies and the possibility of setting exceptions to certain standards—that are relevant only when human drivers are present.” That could pave the way for companies to release fully automated vehicles without things like steering wheels on public roads.
U.S. DOT is also moving away from a policy put in place by the Obama administration that designated 10 automated vehicle proving grounds around the country. The report notes that “given the rapid increase in automated vehicle testing activities in many locations, there is no need for U.S. DOT to favor particular locations.”
More on “Automated Vehicles 3.0” and Federal AV Policy
- "USDOT Releases Third Guidance Update for Automated Vehicles," AASHTO Journal, October 5, 2018.
- "Why self-driving cars need federal regulations," Axios, October 5, 2018.
- "Feds: Self-Driving Car Makers Can Hide Safety Records," Streetsblog USA, October 5, 2018.
- "Trump administration pushing to ease roll-out of driverless cars and trucks," The Washington Post, October 4, 2018.
- "Transportation Department will 'no longer assume' commercial drivers are human," The Hill, October 4, 2018.
- "US Department of Transportation updates autonomous car rules," engadget, October 4, 2018.
- “U.S. plans to rewrite rules that impede self-driving r&d,” Automotive News, October 4, 2018.
- “Self-Driving Semis Get Boost in U.S. Autonomous Vehicle Policy,” Bloomberg, October 4, 2018.
- “US will rewrite safety rules to permit fully driverless cars on public roads,” The Verge, October 4, 2018.
- “Trump Plans to Drop 10 U.S. Self-Driving Car Test Sites, Sources Say,” Bloomberg, October 4, 2018.
- “How the Trump Administration Plans to Regulate Autonomous Vehicles and Drones,” Fortune, October 2, 2018.
- “What to Include in a National Framework for Self-Driving Vehicles,” Route Fifty, September 5, 2018.
- “Self-Driving Cars Don’t Need Rules Yet, U.S. Regulator Says,” Bloomberg, July 12, 2018.
- “U.S. regulators grappling with self-driving vehicle security,” Reuters, July 10, 2018.
State and Local Activities on Automated Vehicle Policy
- “State may pump brakes on driverless vehicle rules,” Portland Tribune, September 29, 2018.
- “USDOT’s Smart City Challenge winner Columbus starts self-driving shuttle pilot project,” Traffic Technology, September 28, 2018.
- “Driverless cars running on empty Oregon regulations—for now,” East Oregonian, September 28, 2018.
- “’Low Speed’ Operation May Be Key to Autonomous Adoption,” AASHTO Journal, September 28, 2018.
- “Bad weather, old roads slow Detroit’s mobility roll,” The Detroit News, September 27, 2018.
- “Driverless cars will arrive in Denver in a meaningful way in five years, according to these experts,” Denverite, September 27, 2018.
- “State DOT leaders working to keep up with AV technology,” Freight Waves, September 24, 2018.
- “A car that’s better without a driver,” Axios, September 21, 2018.
- “Pilot programs for low-speed AVs making quick progress,” Axios, September 14, 2018.
- “U.S. cities building on Las Vegas’ success with autonomous buses,” Axios, September 14, 2018.
- “Axios Listening Session Examines Autonomous Vehicle Issues,” AASHTO Journal, September 14, 2018.
- “Driverless? Autonomous Trucks and the Future of the American Truck,” UC Berekeley Center for Labor Research and Education and Working Partnerships USA, September 2018.
- “TDOT commissioner talks autonomous vehicles,” Lebanon Democrat, August 28, 2018.
- “State agency seeks Florida transit proposals, including autonomous vehicle technology,” Tampa Bay Business Journal, August 28, 2018.
- “A Guide to States Rules on Automated Vehicle Platooning,” Material Handling & Logistics, August 20, 2018.
- “Debate Continues Over Potential Benefits of CAVs,” AASHTO Journal, August 17, 2018.
- “AVS in the Pacific Northwest: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Time of Automation,” University of Oregon Urbanism Next Center, August 2018.
- “Preparing for Automated Vehicles: Traffic Safety Issues for States,” Governors Highway Safety Association, August 2018.
- “County gurus prepare for inevitable automated vehicles,” Miami Today, July 31, 2018.
- “Self-driving car companies muted on updated PennDOT guidelines,” Tribune-Review, July 29, 2018.
- “Iowa among states barring automated truck ‘platoons,’” The Gazette, July 24, 2018.
- “World’s Biggest Self-Driving Test Track to Open in Ohio,” Governing, July 13, 2018.
- “Purdue to lead innovation hub focused on autonomous vehicles,” Indianapolis Business Journal, July 13, 2018.
- “Ohio Moves Forward on Autonomous, But Public Still Needs Assurance,” Morningstar, July 10, 2018.
- “Expectations, Uncertainties, and Policy Choices for Self-Driving Cities,” Sidewalk Talk, July 9, 2018.
- “States continue to adopt rule changes to accommodate truck platoons,” Land Line Magazine, July 6, 2018.
- “What Governor-Led Autonomous Vehicle Adoption Should Look Like,” Route Fifty, July 6, 2018.
Policy Impacts of Automated Vehicles
- "Self-Driving Cars Could Be Bad for Walkable Cities," City Lab, October 4, 2018.
- "Walkable City Rules: Don't Expand City Streets for Self-Driving Cars," Streetsblog USA, October 3, 2018.
- “Will advances in autonomous technology degrade job quality in the trucking industry?” State Smart Transportation Initiative, October 1, 2018.
- “No such thing as a free ride,” ITS International, September/October 2018.
- “Autonomous Driving Isn’t Just About Cars,” Design News, October 1, 2018.
- “Transportation workers form coalition to stop driverless buses in Ohio,” Metro, September 20, 2018.
- “How partially automated vehicles could lead to more driving,” Axios, September 19, 2018.
- “How AVs and CAVs Could Change the Tolling Industry,” International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association, September 18, 2018.
- “Driverless Cars Will Dramatically Change Where and How We Live,” Forbes, September 13, 2018.
- “How Self-Driving Cars Can Get Past the Learning Permit Stage, Without Any Risk,” Bloomberg, September 12, 2018.
- “How Self-Driving Cars Could Ruin the American City,” The Atlantic, September 6, 2018.
- “Autonomous vehicles won’t only kill jobs. They will create them too,” CNBC, August 11, 2018.
- “Automated vehicles will create a shift in workforce demands,” American Center for Mobility, August 7, 2018.
- “Special Report: How Autonomous Vehicles Could Constrain City Budgets,” Governing, July 13, 2018.
- “Insuring Autonomy: How auto insurance can adapt to changing risks,” Travelers Institute, July 2018.
- “State Public Safety and Autonomous Vehicle Technology: Recommended Actions for Governors,” National Governors Association, July 2018.
- “Modeling Adoption of Technological Innovations and Infrastructure Impacts in a Smart City,” FedEx Institute of Technology, December 2017.
Industry & Technology Developments
- "Tesla Shares Slow as Peers Push Forward Their Own Self-Driving Cars," Bloomberg, October 4, 2018.
- “GM’s self-driving-car project will have Honda riding shotgun,” Yahoo Finance, October 3, 2018.
- “A Self-Driving Truck Startup Keeps It Simple, Stupid,” Wired, October 2, 2018.
- “Seeing the Light: Our Call for a Standard Self-Driving Car Language to Communicate Intent,” Medium, October 2, 2018.
- “Ex-Apple engineers unveil a next-generation sensor for self-driving cars,” The Verge, October 1, 2018.
- “Fully driverless Waymo taxis are due out this year, alarming critics,” Ars Technica, October 1, 2018.
- “Volvo’s Concept Car: How Self-Driving Vehicles Will Change the Way We Travel,” Electronic Design, September 28, 2018.
- “To succeed, AVs will have to communicate with human drivers,” Axios, September 28, 2018.
- “With Driverless Cars, Investors Don’t Care If You’re First,” Bloomberg, September 28, 2018.
- “Your Next Car Will Be Self-Driving—If You Buy a Car at All,” The Daily Beast, September 28, 2018.
- “What AV companies can do to build trust among self-driving skeptics,” Axios, September 28, 2018.
- “This Driverless Startup Has One Mission: Save the Future of Ford,” Bloomberg, September 25, 2018.
- “Why Cars Aren’t the Real Stars of the Autonomous Revolution,” Forbes, September 21, 2018.
- “Toyota’s Vision of Autonomous Cars Is Not Exactly Driverless,” Bloomberg Businessweek, September 19, 2018.
- “Audi: Autonomous cars alone won’t solve traffic jams,” Engadget, September 17, 2018.
- “Self-Driving Cars Can Handle Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow,” Bloomberg Businessweek, September 17, 2018.
- “Self-driving pods are slow, boring and weird-looking—and that’s a good thing,” The Verge, September 17, 2018.
- "The Self-Driving Car Timeline--Predictions from the Top 11 Global Automakers," tech emergence, September 16, 2018.
- “Self-Driving Car Developers Should Put Pedestrians First,” Wired, September 15, 2018.
- “VW seeks industry alliance for self-driving technology,” Automotive News, September 14, 2018.
- “Volvo unveils all-electric and autonomous truck without a cab,” Electrek, September 13, 2018.
- “Apple’s autonomous vehicle fleet swells 27% in four months,” Tech Crunch, September 11, 2018.
- “The Latest Battleground for Chipmakers: Self-Driving Cars,” Wired, September 11, 2018.
- “GM’s Plan to Test Autonomous Cars in New York City Seems to Have Gone Up in Smoke,” Jalopnik, September 10, 2018.
- “FCA drops $30 million on Michigan autonomous-driving research facility,” Digital Trends, September 6, 2018.
- “Could Self-Driving Cars Destroy Uber?” Forbes, September 4, 2018.
- “Self-Driving Cars Will Keep Getting Better Forever,” Forbes, September 4, 2018.
- “How Self-Driving Supergroup Aurora Plans to Make Robocars Real,” Wired, September 4, 2018.
- “When will everyone have a Connected Autonomous Vehicle?” State Smart Transportation Initiative, September 3, 2018.
- “Many years till autonomous cars replace human drivers—report,” Smart Highways, August 31, 2018.
- “How do you get people to trust autonomous vehicles? This company is giving them ‘virtual eyes,’” The Washington Post, August 29, 2018.
- “Toyota Joins Uber on Its Tortuous Journey to Self-Driving Cars,” Wired, August 29, 2018.
- “Waymo’s Big Ambitions Slowed by Tech Trouble,” The Information, August 28, 2018.
- “New autonomous vehicle technology can halt drunk driving, but should it?” The Dallas News, August 26, 2018.
- “Top 8 Self-Driving Startups to Watch in 2018 and 2019,” Techgenix, August 24, 2018.
- “Survey Finds Consumer Reluctance Increasing Regarding Autonomous Vehicles,” AASHTO Journal, August 24, 2018.
- “Will self-driving trucks ever be safe enough?” Techradar, August 23, 2018.
- “Lyft and Aptiv have completed 5,000 paid trips in their self-driving taxis,” The Verge, August 21, 2018.
- “Waymo offers a look behind the scenes of its Phoenix AV pilot,” CNET, August 21, 2018.
- “Uber’s Vision of Self-Driving Cars Begins to Blur,” The New York Times, August 19, 2018.
- “Ford says slow and steady will win the self-driving car race,” The Verge, August 16, 2018.
- “How 5G connectivity and new technology could pave the way for self-driving cars,” MIT Technology Review, August 16, 2018.
- “Waymo is Starting to Deliver on Another of Its Core Self-Driving Car Goals,” The Motley Fool, August 15, 2018.
- “Uber’s Losses Mount at Self-Driving Car Unit,” The Information, August 15, 2018.
- “Evaluating Autonomy: IIHS examines driver assistance features in road, track tests,” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, August 7, 2018.
- “Tesla says its new self-driving chip is finally baked,” Wired, August 4, 2018.
- “Uber shutters its self-driving truck project,” The Verge, July 30, 2018.
- “Waymo just laid out its vision for a driverless future,” Quartz, July 25, 2018.
- “Transition to Autonomous Cars Will Take Longer Than You Think, Waymo CEO Tells Governors,” Forbes, July 20, 2018
- “How General Motors is leading the race for self-driving cars,” Detroit Free Press, July 19, 2018.
- “Uber has terminated its self-driving car operators in Pittsburgh,” Quartz, July 11, 2018.
- “Mercedes Will Launch Self-Driving Taxis in California Next Year,” Wired, July 10, 2018.