National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Releases Self-Driving Vehicle Policy

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The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a new policy concerning vehicle automation, including its plans for research on related safety issues andrecommendations for states related to the testing, licensing and regulation of "autonomous" or "self-driving" vehicles. Self-driving vehicles are those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration and braking, and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.

"Whether we're talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles – and their occupants – are safe," said Secretary Ray LaHood. "Our research covers all levels of automation, including advances like automatic braking that may save lives in the near term, while the recommendations to states help them better oversee self-driving vehicle development, which holds promising long-term safety benefits."