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Posts Tagged ‘autonomous vehicle regulations’

Automakers Enter “Gray Zone” as They Roll Out Semi-Autonomous Technologies

Regulators letting makers set the pace on new offerings.

by on Jun.17, 2016

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 features Auto Lane Change and other semi-autonomous technologies.

As the big Mercedes-Benz sedan roars down U.S. 101 south of San Francisco, it closes on an old pickup truck cruising along in its lane. The driver flicks the turn signal for a pass, but then, unexpectedly, takes his hands off the wheel. The new sedan pauses for two seconds and then completes the maneuver on its own.

While it could be another five years or so until automakers roll out the first fully autonomous vehicles, they’re already beginning to introduce semi-autonomous features like the Auto Lane Change system on the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300, as well as Tesla’s new AutoPilot system. Traditionally, the industry has taken a go-slow approach to technology, typically waiting for new government rules and regulations. But in an unusual turnabout, federal regulators are letting the auto industry take the lead.

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That’s pushing carmakers like Mercedes into something of a “gray zone,” said Bart Herring, the general manager of product management for Mercedes-Benz USA. Federal regulators “don’t want to stand in the way and that’s very progressive, something that we as a manufacturer really appreciate.” (more…)

Feds Set to Issue Autonomous Vehicle Guidelines

Move seen as critical step in bringing self-driving cars to US market.

by on Mar.30, 2016

U.S. Transportation Foxx, shown here during an appearance at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

The technology is rapidly falling into place but the biggest challenge could be getting regulators and lawmakers to put into place the rules and laws needed to bring autonomous vehicles to market.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to begin laying out guidelines for self-driving vehicles in the next few months, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced.

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Federal regulators have said that autonomous vehicles could lead to a sharp drop in the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on American highways, and have already taken initial steps to encourage automakers to expand their research into self-driving and advanced safety technologies.

“Technology can help us,” said Foxx, during a meeting in Washington.

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Transpo Sec. Fox Set to Announce “Historic” Autonomous Vehicle News

Setting the stage for rapid change.

by on Jan.14, 2016

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox is planning to announce what is being described by his office as “new actions on vehicle automation,” though a senior member of his department has also hinted that it will be part of a “potentially history-making” series of steps in terms of improving highway safety.

With the support of both the auto industry, as well as many state and regional regulators, Fox is expected to announce that the Department of Transportation will take steps to make it easier for the industry to develop, test and eventually bring to market a new generation of semi- and fully autonomous vehicles. The ultimate goal is to sharply reduce the number of deaths on U.S. highways.

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It’s one of three announcements set to come from Washington in a matter of weeks designed to spur innovation and improve safety, Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said this week, noting that, “These actions going forward (will) change the nature of the auto industry.”

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California Questions Regulating Driverless Cars

Does a driver even need to be in the vehicle?

by on Mar.14, 2014

California-based Google already operates a fleet of prototype autonomous vehicles.

At this month’s Geneva Motor Show, Swiss design firm Rinspeed is showing off an autonomous concept vehicle that would allow the driver and front seat passenger to swivel their seats 180 degrees to commune with those in back, much like a living room on wheels.  Others have begun to imagine the idea of taxis and trucks that can wander the roads without a driver at all.

And that has regulators racing to catch up.  Several states have already passed preliminary rules for manufacturers testing their early prototypes.  And in Nevada and Michigan, that means there still needs to be a licensed driver sitting behind the wheel ready to take control in an instant if there’s a problem.  There’ll be no texting, reading, shaving – or drinking, for that matter.

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But California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is trying to look beyond and ask what happens when autonomous vehicles are actually on the road and in the hands of consumers, whether being operated by a commuter, a taxi driver or a truck fleet operator.  And the questions are taking on an air of increasing urgency considering that Nissan last year said it hopes to quickly take the technology out of the realm of science fiction and make it a reality by 2020.

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