U.S. House Panel Approves Broad Proposals to Hasten Autonomous Car Testing

Last week, a U.S. House panel approved a broad approval on driverless cars that would allow automakers to test up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles without needing to meet existing safety standards.

Vineeth Joel Patel
    Jul 27, 2017 12:35 PM  PT
U.S. House Panel Approves Broad Proposals to Hasten Autonomous Car Testing
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

Various automakers and technology companies are testing autonomous vehicles at the moment, but are currently being held back by current regulations. At the moment, the U.S. government has put a cap on the number of self-driving cars. The cap sits at total of 2,500 vehicles, which is a tiny amount for everyone to fight over. 

More Cars Means More Testing

Well, that's going to change, and companies looking towards an autonomous future will now be able to test a lot more cars. According to a report by Automotive News, a United States House panel recently approved a broad proposal on driverless vehicles that would allow automakers to deploy at total of 100,000 autonomous cars that don't have to meet traditional safety standards. The report also claims that self-driving cars won't have to meet self-driving laws that states have already imposed, like the ones Wisconsin put forth in June.

As Automotive News claims, Representative Robert Latta, a Republican who's in charge of the Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee that oversees consumer protection, stated that he would consider changes before the full committee votes on the measure next week. According to the report, the U.S. House of Representatives will take up the bill after the summer recess in September. 

The new proposal would be the first actual step taken by the United States at the federal level. And, as Automotive News states, the legislation would make it mandatory for automakers to submit safety assessment reports to regulators, but wouldn't require those testing driverless vehicles to get their technology approved beforehand. 

Despite not having to adhere to traditional safety features, automakers and technology companies will still be on the hook for some features. The report indicates that companies will have to show driverless cars "function as intended and contain fail safe features" in order to become exempt from safety standards. A draft measure that came out last week, though, claimed that the Transportation Department could not "condition deployment or testing of highly automated vehicles on review of safety assessment certifications," reports Automotive News

Increasing Testing To Decrease Accidents

The sudden rush to allow companies to test more autonomous cars comes on the heels of rising automotive accidents. As Automotive News reports, traffic fatalities rose by approximately eight percent in the first nine months of 2016. With autonomous technology being the ticket to reducing accidents, the government is now looking to speed things up. 

Just last month, House Republicans disseminated drafts of a 14-bill package that would make it easier for regulators to create laws for autonomous vehicles. As the report claims, a lot of automakers and companies, including General Motors, Ford, Alphabet Inc., Tesla and more, have been lobbying Congress to tack action against rules, like the ones California recently put into place, that would limit the amount of self-driving cars on the road. 

Under the new proposal, states will still be able to set rules on licensing, registration, insurance, liability, and safety inspections, but can't set standards when it comes to autonomous car performance standards, claims Automotive News

With the federal government finally getting involved in the autonomous-car scene, self-driving technology will now be able to thrive and, hopefully, come out sooner.

via: Automotive News