Regulating the Car of the Future: NHTSA Delivers Guidance for Automated Driving Systems

Manufacturers and innovators of autonomous vehicles should consider implementing the best practices recently provided by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Authority—an accompaniment to legislation that is now in the Senate. The policy, known as “Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety 2.0,” came just six days after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution (SELF DRIVE) Act, a first-of-its-kind legislation that memorializes the federal government’s role in ensuring the safe deployment of automated vehicles. Similar to the SELF DRIVE Act, the policy provides guidelines and best practices for automated vehicle designers when analyzing, identifying, and resolving safety features before deployment of these vehicles, and it delineates state and federal regulatory responsibilities for semi-autonomous and fully autonomous motor vehicle operation. “It also clarifies federal and state authority in the rollout of automated vehicles and allows private entities to take an active role in leading advancements in vehicle safety technology, says product liability attorney Allyson Petersen, who has been tracking developments in this area. “It’s important that automated vehicle designers follow this as it ensures the safe deployment of these vehicles on public roadways and provides guidelines that will ultimately create a standard of care for litigation down the road. Manufacturers who have followed the guidance will be in a much better position to defend themselves in litigation.” For insights and questions regarding NHTSA safety guidance or the SELF DRIVE Act, as well as other aspects of automated vehicle technology, contact Sheila Kerwin at 612.305.7515 or skerwin@nilanjohnson.com, or Allyson Petersen at 612.305.7726 or apetersen@nilanjohnson.com.

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