The U.S. Department of Transportation released new federal guidance for automated vehicles, advancing its commitment to support the safe integration of automation into the transportation system. The new guidelines, "Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0," builds on the voluntary guidance in "Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety," but does not replace it.
Secretary Elaine L. Chao said that the guidelines for safe integration will increase productivity, create new jobs and facilitate freight movement.
The guidance provides updated voluntary guidance and policy considerations for a range of industry sectors, such as manufacturers and technology developers, infrastructure owners and operators, commercial motor carriers, bus transit and state and local governments.
Additionally, it supports the safe development of automated vehicle technologies by providing a new multi-modal safety guidance, reducing policy uncertainty and clarifying roles and outlining a process for working with USDOT as technology evolves.
AV 3.0 guidance also updates several department initiatives relating to automated vehicles by stating that the DOT will interpret and adapt the definitions of "driver" or "operator" as appropriate, identify and support the development of automation-related voluntary standards developed through organizations and associations, and affirming that the department is continuing its work to preserve the ability for transportation safety applications.
The guidance also announces several upcoming rulemakings and other actions that will be taken in the near future by the department, including:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will request public comment on a proposal to streamline and modernize the procedures it will follow when processing and deciding exemption petitions.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will initiate an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address automated vehicles, particularly to identify regulatory gaps, including in the areas of inspection, repair and maintenance for ADS.
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announces plans to update the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), taking into consideration new connected and automated vehicle technologies.
- The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is initiating research to develop and demonstrate a concept of operations, including system requirements, for the use of automated and connected vehicles to improve safety of highway-rail crossings.
- The Maritime Administration (MARAD) and FMCSA are evaluating the regulatory and economic feasibility of using automated truck queueing as a technology solution to truck staging, access, and parking issues at ports.
- The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) is researching the ability to enable the digital transmission of information to first responders before they arrive at an incident that involves hazardous materials.
- The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has published a five-year research plan on automating bus transit.