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Public Meetings on Safety

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On March 11th, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that they will be holding two public meetings to “gather input as it develops guidelines for the safe deployment of automated safety technology.” Anthony Foxx, the Transportation Secretary, said that the objective of these meetings is to “establish guidelines for manufacturers that clearly outline how we expect automated vehicles to function – not only safely, but more safely – on our roads.”

This plan is also paired with

  • President Obama’s budget proposal for a 10-year, $3.9 billion investment in advancing autonomous vehicle technology, including large deployment pilots in communities around the country.
  • Working with states to develop model state policy.
  • Using NHTSA’s existing authority to interpret current regulations, and offer limited exemptions from those regulations, in pursuit of advances that could increase safety.
  • Determining what new regulatory tools and authorities might be required to meet NHTSA’s safety mission in an era of rapidly changing technology.


The first of these meetings was held on April 8th where the NHTSA decided that they would continue to “incentivize the development and adoption of technologies using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, so that Americans enjoy the full benefits of connected-vehiucle safety technology.” They are also realized that the current authorities are quickly becoming dated and insufficient to meet the challenges and benefits of automation technology. Thus it becomes crucial for the DOT and NHTSA to remain flexible to new technologies and developments since these advancements are directly tied to their mission to improve safety.

Link to Article

Link to Public Meeting




  1. barnettt18

    In light of the recent news of the partnership between Fiat Chrysler and Google in order to develop automated automobile technology, the meeting addressed in this article shows the attempts by the government to catch up to industry standards. The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is promoting automated safety technologies in order to ensure that legislation and regulations keep up to the standards of the increasingly developing automotive industry’s technologies. I think that this post highlights the more “formal” side of the automotive industry that now has government approval to have automated vehicles. One question for readers out there: how soon do you think automatically driven cars will be available on the market for all consumers? I’d be curious to see when this development is made.

    Thomas Barnett

    May 4, 2016
  2. platte16

    These are interesting goals of the meetings. Given the recent crash of Google’s self-driving car in February, as the first crash at the fault of a self-driving car, I would curious to know how this incident affected the discussion and opinions of the parties.

    May 4, 2016
  3. NHTSA is key to setting industry-wide standards. That is crucial for V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2I (infrastructure) technologies, but also important for putting some limits on what a given technology has to do, and what as a minimum it must do. Autonomy is at present a “generic” idea but these details and more need to be spelled out for it to become a commercial reality. Insurance companies have a big hand in this, too. They want to shape the process, but they absolutely must understand the implications for their liability (and for repair costs to vehicles).

    May 7, 2016
  4. cranea18

    I agree that this is an example of the government trying to keep pace with the technological advancements being made in the industry today. It seems to me that NHTSA has the upper hand in dictating how autonomous vehicles will be built and designed. From what we heard at UMTRI, autonomous vehicles are significantly more safe when it comes to crashes, so this could be a push for autonomous vehicles by NHTSA.

    May 20, 2016

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