April 6, 2020

06 April 2020

NHTSA Proposes Updates to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to Account for Autonomous Vehicles

On March 30, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on updates to federal motor vehicle safety standards for vehicles equipped with Automated Driving Systems (ADS). As always, compliance with these standards is a prerequisite to selling vehicles into interstate commerce. The action seeks to update select standards to account for ADS vehicles that lack traditional manual controls necessary for human drivers but otherwise have traditional seating configurations (i.e., a passenger sitting in the driver’s seating position). Because NHTSA developed these standards long before vehicles equipped with ADS technology were ever contemplated, the current regulatory structure inhibits development of this new technology.