As the lengthy line of futuristic concepts may demonstrate, the autonomous vehicles take us to work and around city in the future may not look just like the cars of these days, at least at the inside. The US has these days updated its motor safety standards with this in mind, issuing a first-of-a-kind rule to account for vehicles that eschew the steering wheel and different controls in desire of automated driving systems.
The safety standards which have traditionally guided automotive design have accounted for each driver and passengers, which means the inclusion of not simply steering wheels, however windshields and mirrors for clear view of the roads, for example.
Back in 2020, we noticed an exciting taste of a future where human drivers are not always the front and center in the design process. The US Department of Transport (USDOT) granted startup Nuro a self-driving vehicle exemption, permitting it to publicly test its autonomous delivery pod constructed to carry groceries and food, without a capacity for human control or passengers.
Nuro, like many others in space, does not design vehicles that can be controlled by humans, and the new rule USDOT issued today brings regulators more in line with that mindset. Described by the agency as a historic move, it updates federal safety standards for occupant protection to account for vehicles with no traditional manual controls.
“When the driver changes from a person to a machine in ADS-equipped vehicles, the want to keep the human beings secure remains the same and have to be integrated from the beginning,” stated Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “With this rule, we make sure that manufacturers put safety first.”
These new standards are meant to make safety necessities clearer for manufacturers of autonomous automobiles, and make sure that those vehicles offer the same degree of safety for the occupants as the vehicles of today.
“Through the 2020s, a critical part of USDOT’s safety mission can be to make sure safety standards keep pace with the development of automated driving and driver assistance systems,” stated US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This new rule is a critical step, establishing robust safety standards for ADS-equipped vehicles.”