On Wednesday, a U.S. House panel approved a proposal to allow automakers to install up to 100,000 self driving vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards and bar states from imposing driver-less car rules. Changes are still up and running before the full committee votes next week. The full U.S. House of Representatives will not agree on the bill until it resumes in September.
This proposal would be the first federal legislation aimed at quickly implementing self driving cars to the market and would require automakers to submit safety assessment reports to U.S. regulators. However, it wouldn’t require pre market approval of advanced vehicle technologies. Automakers would need to prove that self driving cars have the intended functions and will contain fail and safe features.
Road deaths in the United States increased to 7.7 percent in 2015 over the previous year to 35,200 which is the highest annual jump since 1966. Traffic deaths rose to nearly 8 percent in the first nine months of 2016. Current federal motor vehicle safety rules prevent the sale of self driving vehicles without human controls and automakers must meet almost 75 auto safety standards. Most of these standards are already written with the assumption that a licensed driver will be in control of a vehicle.
Tesla Inc, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Alphabet Inc, and other automakers have been urging Congress to prevent rules under consideration in California and other states that could limit the production of self driving vehicles. Under the proposal, states are able to set rules on regulation, licensing, liability, insurance, and safety inspections but can’t set self driving performance standards.
Last year, former President Barack Obama stated voluntary guidelines on self driving cars that required automakers to submit a 15 question safety assessment. Now, President Donald Trump plans to update the assessment in the coming months.