U.S. DOT releases guidance on automated vehicles

This is the first joint, multi-modal guidance document for on-road surface transportation automation

October 05, 2018
Autonomous vehicle guidance

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) yesterday released new federal guidance for automated vehicles, advancing its commitment to supporting the safe integration of automation into the broad multimodal surface transportation system. 

‘Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0’ (AV 3.0) builds upon—but does not replace—voluntary guidance provided in ‘Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety.’

“The safe integration of automated vehicle technology into our transportation system will increase productivity, facilitate freight movement and create new types of jobs,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, in a release.

AV 3.0 incorporates the results of extensive stakeholder engagement to provide updated voluntary guidance and policy considerations for a range of industry sectors, including: manufacturers and technology developers, infrastructure owners and operators, commercial motor carriers, bus transit, and State and local governments. AV 3.0 supports the safe development of automated vehicle technologies by providing new multi-modal safety guidance; reducing policy uncertainty and clarifying roles; and outlining a process for working with U.S. DOT as the technology evolves.

Specifically, the new AV 3.0 guidance provides several updates to the Department’s initiatives relating to automated vehicles, by:

  • Stating that the Department will interpret and, consistent with all applicable notice and comment requirements, adapt the definitions of “driver” or “operator” as appropriate to recognize that such terms do not refer exclusively to a human, but may include an automated system;
  • Identifying and supporting the development of automation-related voluntary standards  developed through organizations and associations, which can be an effective non-regulatory means to advance the integration of automation technologies; and
  • Affirming that the U.S. DOT is continuing its work to preserve the ability for transportation safety applications to function in the 5.9 GHz spectrum. 

AV 3.0 also announces and discusses several upcoming rulemakings and other actions being taken in the near future by the department’s operating administrations. The draft guidance will be published in the Federal Register for public review and comment.

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