US DOT releases latest version of federal guidelines for automated vehicles
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) released the latest version of automated vehicle guidelines, called 'Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0' (AV 4.0),' during the CES 2020 held earlier this month in Las Vegas. According to a statement by the DOT, the latest version unifies efforts in automated vehicles across 38 Federal departments, independent agencies, commissions, and Executive Offices of The President "providing high-level guidance to state and local governments, innovators, and all stakeholders on the US government's approach towards AVs."
The document offers federal principles for the development and integration of autonomous vehicles and is intended to provide guidance for those developing and regulating these vehicles. It also outlines ongoing administration efforts supporting AV technology growth. The guidelines focus on three key areas of prioritizing safety and security, promoting innovation, and ensuring a consistent regulatory approach.
"AV 4.0 brings all of the important work happening on automated vehicle technologies across the federal government under one unified approach. The federal principles released today help foster an environment for innovators to advance safe AV technologies, and put the United States in a position of continued leadership in the future of transportation," said Michael Kratsios, CTO of the United States and Deputy Assistant to the President at the White House Office of Science and Technology.
Significance: The AV 4.0 builds on the earlier three versions of automated vehicle guidelines released in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In September 2016, the United States became the first country in the world to publish guidelines for development and deployment of autonomous vehicles on its public roads. The document also outlined the regulatory areas over which US federal government and states would have jurisdictions.
One year later, the DOT released a second set of guidelines for autonomous vehicle development called 'Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety'. The new guidelines replaced the first documents and included key changes to sections covering the voluntary compliance guidelines for automakers and best practices for US state governments—encouraging US states to work with the federal guidelines rather than imposing more strict policies.
In October 2018, the DOT issued the third version of guidelines for autonomous vehicles called 'Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0,' or 'AV 3.0'. The third set of guidelines addressed further integration issues not covered by the prior releases. The AV 3.0 did not supersede the AV2.0 but supplemented V2.0 by covering integration and system issues. The second set of guidelines, regarding testing procedures, remained in place.
Regarding the latest version AV 4.0, the DOT said that the guidelines ensure "a consistent United States Government (USG) approach to AV technologies, and to detail the authorities, research, and investments being made across the USG so that the United States can continue to lead AV technologies' research, development, and integration. The US DOT and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy have invited public comment on the document.
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