The U.S. auto safety regulator stated on Tuesday it is accelerating the process for evaluating whether automakers can deploy self-driving vehicles without devices like brakes and steering wheels.
Automakers must presently meet almost 75 auto safety standards, many of them written with the assumption that a licensed driver would be capable to control the vehicle using traditional human controls.
On Tuesday, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated it issued a final regulation streamlining the review process. NHTSA removed a requirement that calls for the agency to figure out a petition is complete before releasing a summary for public comment.
Deputy NHTSA Administrator Heidi King stated the “rule improves both the efficiency and transparency of the process to focus on the safety review”.
Under the law, automakers can petition for an exemption for about 2,500 vehicles for vehicle safety standards as long as they are as safe as present vehicles.
In January, General Motors filed a petition with NHTSA asking an exemption to utilize fully automated vehicles as part of a ride-sharing fleet it prepares to deploy in next year.
NHTSA has not yet announced the GM petition complete and the agency did not immediately state when it will submit a summary of the plan.