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Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety

Nathaniel Beuse
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
15 September 2017

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 178 (Friday, September 15, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 43321-43323]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-19637]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Chapter V

[Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0082]

Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of public availability and request for comments.


SUMMARY: NHTSA is releasing new voluntary guidance on automated driving 
systems--Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety. The new 
voluntary guidance is based on public comments received on the Federal 
Automated Vehicles Policy (FAVP) released in September 2016. The 
purpose of this new voluntary guidance is to support industry 
innovators, States and other key stakeholders as they consider and 
design best practices relative to the testing and deployment of 
automated vehicle technologies, while informing and educating the 
public and improving roadway safety. NHTSA invites public comment on 
the voluntary guidance and additional ways to improve its usefulness.
    This new voluntary guidance is an important part of DOT's multi-
modal efforts to support the introduction of automation technologies 
that hold the promise of fulfilling NHTSA's mission of reducing the 
number of injuries and fatalities on our roads. As an update to the 
FAVP this new voluntary guidance serves as NHTSA's current operating 
guidance for Automated Driving Systems (ADSs--SAE International 
Automation Levels 3-5). NHTSA intends to continue to revise and refine 
the guidance periodically to reflect continued public input, 
experience, research, and innovation, and will address significant 
comments in preparing future iterations of the guidance. This guidance 
supports that effort.

DATES: You should submit your comments early enough to ensure that 
Docket Management receives them no later than November 14, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to the docket number above and be 
submitted by one of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: Please submit one copy to 
http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Mail: Please submit two copies to Docket Management 
Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-
     Hand Delivery: Please submit two copies to 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC, 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal 
     Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the 
Public Participation heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section 
of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided.
     Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form 
of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the 
individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted 
on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may 
review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register 
published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78) or at https://www.transportation.gov/privacy.
     Docket: For access to the docket to read background 
documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov or to 
the street address listed above. Follow the online instructions for 
accessing the dockets.

    For technical issues related to the Voluntary Guidance: Ms. Dee 
Williams of NHTSA's Office of Vehicle Safety Research at (202) 366-8537 
or by email at av_info_nhtsa@dot.gov.
    For legal issues: Mr. Steve Wood of NHTSA's Office of Chief 
Counsel, at (202) 366-2992 or by email at steve.wood@dot.gov.



    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under 
the U.S. Department of Transportation, was established by the Highway 
Safety Act of 1970, to carry out safety programs under the National 
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and the Highway Safety Act 
of 1966. NHTSA is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries, and 
economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes on our nation's 
roadways. It accomplishes these tasks by conducting research, setting 
and enforcing safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor

[[Page 43322]]

vehicle equipment, generating and disseminating comparative safety 
performance information to encourage the production and purchase of 
advanced safety features, requiring the recalling and remedying of 
defective and noncompliant vehicles and equipment, and by distributing 
highway safety formula grants to state governments to enable them to 
conduct effective highway safety programs. Additionally, NHTSA issues 
guidance regarding motor vehicle safety issues.
    On September 20, 2016, NHTSA developed and published for comment 
the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (FAVP). The comment period 
officially closed on November 22, 2016, but NHTSA continued to receive 
and consider comments through February 16, 2017. The public docket 
received 160 unique comments in response to the FAVP representing the 
traditional motor vehicle industry, the technology sector, public 
agencies, special interest groups, and private citizens. The agency 
also held public meetings to seek additional comment.
    NHTSA analyzed the docket comments, public meeting proceedings and 
other stakeholder discussions, recent Congressional hearings, and State 
activities and used this analysis as the foundation for improvements 
and refinements to develop NHTSA's new voluntary guidance--Automated 
Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety.
    In Section 1: Voluntary Guidance for Automated Driving Systems 
(Voluntary Guidance), NHTSA offers a nonregulatory approach to 
Automated Driving System (ADS) safety. This Voluntary Guidance supports 
the automotive industry and other key stakeholders as they consider and 
design best practices for the testing and safe deployment of ADSs (SAE 
International Automation Levels 3 through 5--Conditional, High, and 
Full Automation Systems). Section 1 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 to publicly 
disclose Voluntary Safety Self-Assessments of their systems 
demonstrating their varied approaches to achieving safety.
    Vehicles operating on public roads are subject to both Federal and 
State jurisdictions, and States are continuing 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 (Best Practices). 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 ADS' 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.
    NHTSA emphasizes the importance of Automated Driving Systems: A 
Vision for Safety as new voluntary guidance in its entirety--a cohesive 
package that represents the Agency's current position on Automated 
Driving Systems. As the new voluntary guidance is a result of 
improvements based on public comments and new information, in the 
future, it too will be updated to reflect input by the public, advances 
in technology, increased presence of ADSs on public roadways, new 
research, and any regulatory action or statutory changes that could 
occur at both the Federal and State levels. NHTSA encourages 
collaboration and communication between all government entities and the 
private sector as the technology evolves, and the Agency will continue 
to coordinate dialogue among all stakeholders. The Department and NHTSA 
recognize that regulatory efforts in this arena must promote safety, 
remove any existing unnecessary barriers, remain technology neutral, 
and enable a pathway for innovation that has the potential to save 
lives. Any initiative in the regulatory realm will seek to remove 
regulatory barriers and burdens that could unnecessarily hinder the 
safe and efficient implementation of ADSs.
    The new guidance is available at https://www.nhtsa.gov/technology-innovation/automated-vehicles, which will also serve as a central 
repository of associated references to this and other NHTSA ADS 
resources, including new frequently asked questions. Additionally, to 
support manufacturers and other entities looking to request regulatory 
action from NHTSA, companies can find an informational resource, 
Understanding NHTSA's Regulatory Tools: Instructions, Practical 
Guidance, and Assistance for Entities Seeking to Employ NHTSA's 
Regulatory Tools. The new guidance is also available in the public 
docket at http://www.regulations.gov (search Docket No. NHTSA-2017-

Public Comment

    NHTSA is seeking written public comments on the new voluntary 
guidance--Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety and additional 
ways to improve its usefulness. The Agency expects and intends the 
voluntary guidance to continue to be updated based on public comment; 
the experience of the agency, manufacturers, suppliers, consumers, and 
others; and further research findings and technological innovations. To 
inform the next iteration of the voluntary guidance, the Agency may 
hold public meetings and workshops associated with specific items 
relevant to the guidance. Once the timing of those meetings has been 
finalized, the Agency will publish Federal Register notices for those 
meetings. Given that not all interested persons may have an opportunity 
to attend such meetings, the Agency's solicitation of written comments 
will ensure that all persons have a chance to participate. When 
possible, NHTSA will also arrange for the meetings to be webcast and 
for written transcripts of the meetings. When available, webcast videos 
and transcripts will be at https://www.nhtsa.gov/technology-innovation/automated-vehicles.

Public Participation

How do I prepare and submit comments?

    Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your 
comments are filed correctly in the docket, please include the docket 
number of this document in your comments.
    Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long (49 CFR 553.21). 
NHTSA established this limit to encourage you to write your primary 
comments in a concise fashion. However, you may attach necessary 
additional documents to your

[[Page 43323]]

comments. There is no limit on the length of the attachments.
    Please submit one copy (two copies if submitting by mail or hand 
delivery) of your comments, including the attachments, to the docket 
following the instructions given above under ADDRESSES. Please note, if 
you are submitting comments electronically as a PDF (Adobe) file, we 
ask that the documents submitted be scanned using an Optical Character 
Recognition (OCR) process, thus allowing the agency to search and copy 
certain portions of your submissions.

How do I submit confidential business information?

    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of 
confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete 
submission, including the information you claim to be confidential 
business information, to the Office of the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the 
address given above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, 
you may submit a copy (two copies if submitting by mail or hand 
delivery), from which you have deleted the claimed confidential 
business information, to the docket by one of the methods given above 
under ADDRESSES. When you send a comment containing information claimed 
to be confidential business information, you should include a cover 
letter setting forth the information specified in NHTSA's confidential 
business information regulation (49 CFR part 512).

Will the agency consider late comments?

    NHTSA will consider all comments received before the close of 
business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To 
the extent possible, the Agency will also consider comments received 
after that date. Given that we intend for the policy document to be a 
living document and to be developed in an iterative fashion, subsequent 
opportunities to comment will also be provided periodically.

How can I read the comments submitted by other people?

    You may read the comments received at the address given above under 
COMMENTS. The hours of the docket are indicated above in the same 
location. You may also see the comments on the Internet, identified by 
the docket number at the heading of this notice, at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Please note that, even after the comment closing date, NHTSA will 
continue to file relevant information in the docket as it becomes 
available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, 
the agency recommends that you periodically check the docket for new 

    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated by 49 CFR 
Nathaniel Beuse,
Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety Research.
[FR Doc. 2017-19637 Filed 9-14-17; 8:45 am]

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