Viewpoints on Federal Autonomous Vehicle Policy
Sept. 12, 2017—The new Federal autonomous vehicle policy was released today and with its release come opposing views. While Bosch applauds the release of the updated Federal Automated Vehicles Policy by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Consumer Watchdog said it will threaten highway safety.
Consumer Watchdog's Take:
"This isn't a vision for safety," said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director. "It's a roadmap that allows manufacturers to do whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want, turning our roads into private laboratories for robot cars with no regard for our safety."
The new Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration policy focuses only on voluntary guidance for Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5 self-driving cars, not Level 2 technology where only some driving technology is automated, Consumer Watchdog noted.
"This a serious short-coming and ignores the fact that Level 2 technology, like Tesla's Autopilot, has killed people," said Simpson. "How the human driver monitors and interacts with Level 2 technologies is potentially life threatening and requires Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards."
The DOT claims the revised voluntary policy "incorporates feedback received through public comments."
"This simply isn't true," Simpson said. "There hasn't been a NHTSA public hearing on autonomous vehicle policy since President Trump was inaugurated and the highly touted DOT Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT) has not even met and has been completely ignored by Trump's appointees."
The new robot car guidelines raise questions for state regulators, Consumer Watchdog said. For example, proposed self-driving rules in California mandate that manufacturers would have to file a federal safety assessment with NHTSA. The new guidance, however, says states should not codify any portion of the voluntary guidance in their regulations.
"The DOT and NHTSA 'Vision for Safety 2.0' tells auto manufacturers to think about a few things involving robot cars and then do whatever they want," said Simpson.
“Bosch is grateful for the leadership of the U.S. Department of Transportation, including Secretary Elaine Chao as well as the team at NHTSA, to provide this critical guidance as the development of automated vehicles continues to progress,” said Mike Mansuetti, president, Robert Bosch LLC. “Bosch has a rich history developing automated and safety technologies as part of our brand promise to bring technologies to market that provide benefit to mankind. The updated guidance from the DOT and NHTSA helps more of these life-saving technologies to hit the road in the future.”
Throughout the policy update process, the DOT and NHTSA sought feedback from the industry. Bosch works with customers on solutions ranging from components to full systems that support automated driving. As a leading supplier with a broad portfolio of automated driving technology, the company was an active participant in the workshops and public meetings hosted by NHTSA as the agency encouraged a variety of opinions to create a national dialogue to help inform how this technology will transform mobility in the United States.
“Bosch was able to directly express our points of view and to bring new ideas for consideration throughout the diligent process undertaken by DOT and NHTSA,” Mansuetti said. “Bosch appreciates the Department’s continued recognition of the role suppliers such as Bosch play in developing automated driving systems and advanced technology.”
Bosch further commends Secretary Chao for her leadership in highlighting the importance of consumer education and awareness concerning advanced vehicle technology. The Bosch Automated Mobility Academy, launched in 2017, seeks to help enhance consumer understanding and to make this information easily accessible to members of the public. To see more about how Bosch is teaching the vehicle to drive and the building blocks for automated driving, visit the Bosch Automated Mobility Academy.