NHTSA's mission is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce the economic costs of roadway crashes through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement activity. As automated vehicle technologies advance, they have the potential to dramatically reduce the loss of life each day in roadway crashes. To support industry innovators and States in the deployment of this technology, while informing and educating the public, and improving roadway safety through the safe introduction of the technology, NHTSA released Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety. It is an important part of the US Department of Transportation's multimodal efforts to support the safe introduction of automation technologies. In this document, NHTSA offers a nonregulatory approach to automated vehicle technology safety.
Section 1: Voluntary Guidance for Automated Driving Systems supports the automotive industry and other key stakeholders as they consider and design best practices for the testing and safe deployment of Automated Driving Systems (ADSs - SAE Automation Levels 3 through 5 – Conditional, High, and Full Automation Systems). It contains 12 priority safety design elements for consideration, including vehicle cybersecurity, human machine interface, crashworthiness, consumer education and training, and post-crash ADS behavior. Given the developing state of the technology, this Voluntary Guidance provides a flexible framework for industry to use in choosing how to address a given safety design element. In addition, to help support public trust and confidence, the Voluntary Guidance encourages entities engaged in testing and deployment to publicly disclose Voluntary Safety Self-Assessments of their systems in order to demonstrate their varied approaches to achieving safety. Vehicles operating on public roads are subject to both Federal and State jurisdiction, and States are beginning to draft legislation to safely deploy emerging ADSs.
To support the State work, NHTSA offers Section 2: Technical Assistance to States, Best Practices for Legislatures Regarding Automated Driving Systems. The section clarifies and delineates Federal and State roles in the regulation of ADSs. NHTSA remains responsible for regulating the safety design and performance aspects of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment; States continue to be responsible for regulating the human driver and vehicle operations. The section also provides Best Practices for Legislatures, which incorporates common safety-related components and significant elements regarding ADSs that States should consider incorporating in legislation. In addition, the section provides Best Practices for State Highway Safety Officials, which offers a framework for States to develop procedures and conditions for ADSs' safe operation on public roadways. It includes considerations in such areas as applications and permissions to test, registration and titling, working with public safety officials, and liability and insurance.
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