Just 2 to 3 weeks ago, the US government’s auto safety regulations were based on 2 beliefs that basically appeared obvious when they were authored: that every driverless car will have humans inside, and that one of those humans will be the driver. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) requires that every car have seatbelts and airbags to protect the safety of the driver and potential passengers. FMVSS also sets minimum standards for everything from crash test performance to seatbelt function and strength. At the time these made perfect sense but as time went on these safety assumptions didn’t make sense when driverless manufacturers decided to make driverless vehicle that did not provide for a passenger but actually provided a payload delivery.
What Store Chains Are Using Or Testing Driverless Delivery Vehicles
- Walmart is examining driverless car delivery with Ford, Waymo and Udelv;
- Kroger Grocery is experimenting with autonomous car delivery with Nuro; Ahold’s
- Stop & Shop is testing with Robomart on an autonomous convenience store on wheels.
- FedEx is assessing a sidewalk, last-mile robot for same-day deliveries with AutoZone, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.
In the final months of the Donald J. Trump administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a brand-new edition of the FMVSS that acknowledges that some cars will not have drivers, some vehicles will not include passengers—and autonomous vehicle manufacturers are moving towards not having anyone inside at all.
Nuro, a startup company that manufactures delivery robots devised to operate on streets rather opposed to robots designed to utilize sidewalks. As a matter of fact, Nuro stated these updated regulations are a “substantial advancement that will facilitate Nuro to commercialize our self-driving delivery vehicles.” Nuro went on to state that rules and regulations that require airbags and seatbelts simply don’t apply to their “human less” delivery bots.
Zero Passenger Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturers Requested Updated Rules and Guidelines
NHTSA extended exceptions to anyone building a vehicle designed for zero passengers, waiving requirements for seat belts, airbags and relaxing rules and regulations on the design of door locks and seats. The biggest exemption that NHTSA agreed to was that autonomous vehicles do not need to meet crash worthiness standards because the “zero Human Vehicles” will only have fast food, groceries, or small deliverables inside and there would be no human risk of injury involved.
When Autonomous Vehicles Are Designed To Transport Humans, It Typically Won’t Require A Human Driver
The new rules and regulations are creating a newer or updated vocabulary when describing the design of the newer autonomous vehicles. For instances there are now dual control autonomous cars where a human could take over control of the car and operate it like a regular vehicle, but these cars will have the more stringent manufacturing rules and regulations. Designers no longer will use the terms driver’s side or passenger side they will use right or left side. While others will not have steering wheels or gas and brake pedals.
If a vehicle is both manual and self-driving functions, it will be required to disable the self-driving features when it detects if a child in the driver’s seat. In a move to stay ahead of changing times NHTSA has decided to use the term “steering Control” instead of steering wheel” which allows designers to change the concept of a round steering wheel or steering control.
NHTSA Shunned A Steering Concept From Tesla
Tesla wanted to redefine the concept of “Driver” and requested that the steering control could be used by any person or persons in the vehicle utilizing “joysticks, buttons and/or touchscreens stating that they wanted the ability to control the steering for any seated position in the car. The National Highway Safety Association drew the line on that concept and said no way! Their actual statement to Tecla’s request “The new definition is meant to encompass traditional driving controls, not future controls that have not yet been developed,” the agency wrote in response. “This rulemaking does not address joystick-type designs that are intended to be the only manual driving control or driving controls that have no fixed position at a particular seating location.”
NHTSA Streamlining The Development Of Self-Driving Vehicles Is Extremely Important.
Sadly, autonomous motor vehicles are typically unregulated under current federal law. As a matter of fact, Federal Law does not:
- Require minimum performance standards for the self-driving systems.
- Mandate standardized interfaces for self-driving systems.
- Require the use of driver monitoring systems to make sure drivers adequately monitor them while they are active.
So if a manufacturer starts with an FMVSS-compliant vehicle, federal law allows them to convert it into a self-driving car and test it on public roads. To date formal supervision over these testing parameters have not been addressed by NHTSA which is sort of scary right?
Let’s Make Autonomous America California Again?
Wait. What? California requires all self-driving companies who are testing their respective vehicles to submit annual reports to state regulators describing the number of miles driven and any crashes and details of the types of collisions they were involved with. Currently federal law does not require such reporting.
(ADAS)- Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems has only minimal federal oversight and do not require the mandates listed above. The Trump administration urged modifying archaic existing regulations instead of creating new regulations which really annoyed the Advocates for Highway Safety and they publicly blasted NHTSA’s “failure to advance commonsense rules detailing minimum performance standards for autonomous driving systems.”
“COME ON …MAN!!” Listen Folks “Ya Gotta Regulate”
As of today, with Donald J Trump who touted the hands-off approach has no time left to work on these regulations as it is now in the hands of President Joe Biden to regulate or not to regulate autonomous driving vehicles and the testing thereof.
What Does All Of This Have To Do With Collision Injury Chiropractic
If you or a loved one are in a collision with a self-driving care the doctors at collision injury Chiropractic are here to help you and yours. Its all we do 24/7 give us a call.
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