The US government’s Highway Safety Agency has ordered automakers to report any accidents involving fully autonomous vehicles or partially automated driver assistance systems.
DETROIT – The US government’s Highway Safety Agency has ordered automakers to report any accidents involving fully autonomous vehicles or partially automated driver assistance systems.
Tuesday’s move by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the agency is taking a tougher stance on automatic vehicle safety than ever before. It has been reluctant to release any regulations on the new technology for fear of potentially hindering the adoption of life-saving systems.
The order requires vehicle and equipment manufacturers and companies that operate vehicles on public roads involving fully autonomous vehicles, or in which driver assistance systems are working immediately before or during the accident. was.
“By mandating crash reporting, the agency will have access to critical data that will help quickly identify safety issues that emerge in these automated systems,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Steven Cliffe said in a statement.
The agency says it will look for potential safety flaws, and the information may lead to sending a crash investigation team or opening a defect investigation.
The order comes as NHTSA has sent special investigation teams to 31 accidents involving partially automated driver assistance systems since June 2015. Such systems can center the vehicle in its lane and maintain a safe distance from the vehicles in front of it. Tesla’s Autopilot system was involved in 25 of those crashes that killed 10 people, according to data released by the agency.
Tesla and other manufacturers have warned that drivers using the system must be prepared to intervene at all times. Teslas using the system crashed in the semi crossing in front of them, stalling emergency vehicles and a road barrier.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which has also investigated some Tesla accidents, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the use of Autopilot to areas where it can be operated safely. The NTSB also recommended that NHTSA require Tesla to have a better system to ensure that drivers are paying attention. NHTSA has not acted on any of the recommendations.
Jason Levine, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group, said crash reporting is a welcome first step by the NHTSA. The Center has been asking the agency to monitor automated vehicles for several years.
“Collecting accident data, and hopefully data from accidents that were avoided, can be used to enforce existing laws to ensure the safety of consumers as well as pave the way for appropriate regulations to encourage the deployment of a safer advanced vehicle.” technology can help serve a variety of purposes,” Levine said in an email.
Companies must report accidents involving fully autonomous or partially automated vehicles within one day of learning about them if they involve hospital-treated injuries, fatalities, air bag deployments, pedestrians or cyclists. are, or were serious enough to tow the vehicle away.
Other accidents involving vehicles equipped with the system involving injury or property damage are to be reported every month. This requirement does not apply to consumers who own a vehicle or an auto dealer.
NHTSA said in a statement that the data could show whether there are general patterns in system-related crashes.