Print 26 comment(s) - last by blue_urban_sky.. on Jun 4 at 10:28 AM

NHTSA wants better safeguards before autonomous vehicles be used for general purposes on the roads

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said autonomous vehicles should only be used for testing purposes by U.S. states until more safety features are added to these cars.

In a new set of recommendations, the NHTSA said self-driving cars need plenty of safety-related improvements before being considered for widespread consumer use. For instance, the agency said these vehicles should have a feature that recognizes when their technology is failing, and let the driver know so that they can take over quickly. 

NHTSA also said that autonomous vehicles should be able to record these failures so that they can be understood later.

“We believe there are a number of technological issues as well as human performance issues that must be addressed before self-driving vehicles can be made widely available,” NHTSA said in its automated driving policy statement. “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.”

Some of the safety features the NHTSA is considering for autonomous vehicles is automatic braking, where the car would jump in and brake before a crash occurred. 

Self-driving cars are currently being tested in California, Florida and Nevada, and the NHTSA said these cars should remain in a testing phase only until safety features improve. Once this happens, the NHTSA will reconsider their recommendations. 

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that autonomous vehicles are a long way away from hitting the roads beyond testing. 

“We’re encouraged by the new automated vehicle technologies being developed and implemented today, but want to ensure that motor vehicle safety is considered in the development of these advances,” Strickland said. “As additional states consider similar legislation, our recommendations provide lawmakers with the tools they need to encourage the safe development and implementation of automated vehicle technology.”

Many believe the NHTSA is putting autonomous vehicles off because they would eliminate revenue from traffic violations (since the cars would prevent crashes, stop at red lights, drive the speed limit, etc.) and would hurt municipalities. 

Last October, NHTSA announced that it would work on a 2-3 year project for autonomous vehicle rules. It said the research would include topics such as safety standards (such as crashtest results) and software security (to ensure that hackers don't take over). 

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: The future
By drycrust3 on 6/1/2013 5:25:31 AM , Rating: 2
Traffic problems would be a thing of the past with autonomous vehicles since merging or traffic lights will no longer create traffic jams.

Rubbish! Traffic problems happen when too much demand is placed on the resources available. It doesn't matter whether people drive cars or computers drive cars, when the demand for resources exceeds the capacity to supply, then traffic is slowed down. If every car in your city was driven by a computer then you'd still have traffic problems, although some would be slightly different, for example some of the problems may change location, but you'd still have problems.

RE: The future
By Mint on 6/1/2013 8:06:44 AM , Rating: 2
It does matter because automation often does more with the same resource.

What's the limit for throughput right now? You really need at least 1 second between cars to be reasonably safe (AAA recommends 3), because you have limited reaction time and don't know what the guy a head of you is about to do, and he inturn shares the same uncertainty, etc. Automation vastly improves on this: reaction time and communication become virtually instant. We could get 3+ cars per second per lane.

Maximum throughput can be more than tripled, and in areas with bad traffic, average throughput can be an order of magnitude higher.

RE: The future
By Reclaimer77 on 6/2/2013 9:46:34 PM , Rating: 2
Just more of the same Collectivist posters spreading their utopian pie-in-the-sky bullcrap on here.

They probably thought we would all be in flying cars by now as well lol.

The idea that self-driving cars are even preferable and some kind of fix-all for all our problems is laughable. The claims that computers make better decisions than humans at driving? Totally unproven.

By you've correctly identified the real problem. Traffic congestion is caused by more vehicles than the given highways and bypasses can accommodate. Self driving cars won't change physics.

RE: The future
By blue_urban_sky on 6/3/2013 7:33:23 AM , Rating: 2
True, Although I would like to see freight automated, HGV running continuously with no stops 24/7 would help some as in England I continuously see lorries trying to overtake others at about 60mph forcing all the faster traffic to bunch behind them.

Hopefully without the driver wanting to go that 1 mph faster the computers can convoy them hopefully offsetting wasted time with fuel efficiency.

Flying cars would rock btw and every effort should be made to make them a reality.

RE: The future
By BRB29 on 6/3/2013 10:43:09 AM , Rating: 2
How efficient would flying cars be? You would need energy to propel and lift.

RE: The future
By blue_urban_sky on 6/4/2013 10:28:37 AM , Rating: 2
They would be awesomely efficient, due to the super mega ultra drive that runs solely on solent green.

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