NHTSA Advises US States Not to Allow Self-Driving Vehicle Testing Without a Driver Behind the Wheel image

Although NHTSA advises US states to allow self-driving vehicles be tested on their roads it also urges them to make sure they can be taken over by a driver if necessary.

“There is great promise in this technology,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said Thursday in a telephone interview from South Korea. “These are test vehicles, and (states) should have policies in place to make sure the driving public is safe driving alongside them.”

NHTSA does not want the US states to set their own safety requirements and has laid the groundwork for nationwide regulations if self-driving vehicles will become commercially available. The agency wants the test drivers to get special licenses and to sit in the driver’s seat to be ready to take control in case of emergency.

NHTSA believes that Google’s and Audi’s self-driving vehicles tested in California, Nevada and Florida should be fitted with a system which should detect if there is a malfunction of the automated vehicle technology and inform the driver to take control of the car. The Michigan Legislature is also planning to allow self-driving vehicle testing.

“Self-driving vehicle technology is not yet at the stage of sophistication or demonstrated safety capability that it should be authorized for use by members of the public for general driving purposes,” said NHTSA.

Source: The Detroit News