Autonomous vehicles (AVs) promise significant improvements in safety, productivity, efficiency, equity and national security – but fully realizing these benefits hinges on safe and responsible deployment that builds public trust. Safety is therefore a critical metric of AV regulation and deployment, but in the absence of a federal framework for AVs industry has faced uncertainty as a patchwork of state regulatory approaches fill the vacuum.
SAFE, with the support of Intel Corporation, asked O. Kevin Vincent, former Chief Counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and current Associate General Counsel at Lucid Motors, to provide an overview of the existing framework for the regulation of AVs in the United States and offer recommendations for a federal safety framework. The paper recommends a three-pronged framework focused on performance standards and the capacity of the AV to make safe decisions, process standards and the capacity of the AV to make the decisions its manufacturer says it will make, and the capacity for prompt corrective action if necessary.
The paper asserts that regulatory certainty balanced with the ability to innovate is critical for the responsible, expeditious deployment of AVs. This AV deployment will not just create a vehicle fleet that enhances safety, promotes equity, protects the planet, and improves public health, but also ensures that the United States maintains global leadership in transportation technology for the movement of people and goods.
(Disclaimer: The paper is the author’s own views, and does not necessarily represent the views of SAFE or the Intel Corporation)