On Tuesday, September 20th, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released a new policy designed to expedite the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies in the United States while protecting public safety. The new policy applies to the full array of AVs, ranging from driver assisted to wholly autonomous technologies. Although the policy pertains to automobiles, a number of aspects of the new policy are likely relevant to autonomous technologies developed or used in other modes of transportation. The Department will accept comment for 60 days.
What’s Included in the New Policy?
The new policy, which replaces a more conservative policy released in 2013, contains the following sections:
Notably, the policy envisions greater transparency in data collection and sharing among all stakeholders to expedite the development and deployment of AVs. The data can be used to better understand and mitigate the risks presented by an array of AV technologies. The policy also addresses privacy and cybersecurity related to the use of AVs.
USDOT plans to update the policy annually, and expects to allow stakeholders and other interested parties to submit comments prior to such updates.
Why Is This Policy Important?
In announcing the new policy, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx noted that the policy will serve as a long-term, flexible framework for the Department and its stakeholders to follow as AV development and deployment accelerates and increases penetration in the transportation sector. The policy touches on all key areas of interest to entities working on these technologies (e.g., software and vehicle design standards, safety performance, data collection and sharing, and privacy and cybersecurity). USDOT will accept comments for 60 days. It is imperative that interested stakeholders provide comments during this time period to ensure that the Department is able to make fully informed decisions that will allow for innovation to continue.
USDOT will consider comments received and finalize its new policy. The Department also plans to release a new rule before the end of the year that will ensure that vehicles have the necessary technology in place to communicate with each other, and that such information is exchanged in a safe and secure manner in order to protect the security of the vehicles as well as the privacy of the individuals therein.
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