DETROIT — On the floor of the North American International Auto Show, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx pledged $4 billion over the next 10 years will be spent testing connected vehicle systems in designated corridors across the country.
Foxx also promised that over the next six months the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would with the auto industry as well as other stakeholders to develop guidelines for the testing and safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.
Within that same timeline, the NHTSA will work with states, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and other stakeholders to “develop a model state policy on automated vehicles that offers a path to consistent national policy.”
Additionally, the NHTSA released updated guidance that makes widespread deployment of fully autonomous vehicles feasible. Intriguingly, Foxx specifically specified that BMW’s self-parking technology meets federal safety standards.
“NHTSA is using all of its available tools to accelerate the deployment of technologies that can eliminate 94 percent of fatal crashes involving human error,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “We will work with state partners toward creating a consistent national policy on these innovations, provide options now and into the future for manufacturers seeking to deploy autonomous vehicles, and keep our safety mission paramount at every stage.”
As we discussed Wednesday when word of this coming announcement broke, without nationwide guidelines, autonomy could be regulated by a jumble of states and municipalities with their own distinctive laws. This would create a nightmare for carmakers that aim to implement a large-scale roll out of the safety technology.
With these things coming in quick order, companies like General Motors and Lyft can begin testing autonomous car-sharing platforms. I mean, you know, if they really are.