National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will relax rules for self-driving cars

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will relax rules for self-driving cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will relax it requirements for meeting the federal safety requirements that govern the traffic.  These requirements were written without self-driving cars in mind, and it would be difficult for full autonomous vehicles to meet them.  It is an important milestone for Google, and in general for considering a computer driving an autonomous vehicle as a legal driver.  However, Google would still have to apply for a special exempt from the regulations.

While there are many car manufacturers, such as Tesla and Mercedes-Benz,  introducing semi-autonomous vehicles, Google’s self-driving car is one of the few that takes out the driver completely. NHTSA decision will help the self-driving car industry in general, and is a vote of confidence for Google’s program.  This comes after the state of California, Google’s home state, being less cooperative: California regulations would still require a human being in the car being able to intervene.  Many car industry analysts were surprised by the quick decision by the NHTSA. “Our interpretation that the self-driving computer system of a car could, in fact, be a driver, is significant,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. ” But the burden remains on self-driving car manufacturers to prove that their vehicles meet rigorous federal safety standards.”