U.S. NHTSA: Announcement of guidance for autonomous vehicles

Implementing a five-level system, requesting submission of fifteen safety assessments



  On September 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the "Federal Automated Vehicle Policy", a set of guidelines for autonomous vehicles. As autonomous driving technology is evolving on a daily basis, this release was not the final version, but rather feedback from various sources will inform the agency's next update to this Policy, which it plans to issue within one year. Moreover, the NHTSA plans to revise its guidance annually.

  At the current stage, this guidance is not mandatory, but the NHTSA will request that manufacturers and other entities that test vehicles with autonomous driving technology on public roads, or plan to release them to the market, voluntarily provide reports regarding how the guidance and its fifteen safety assessments have been followed.

  The NHTSA is considering making the submission of reports mandatory in the future.

    The guidance consists of the following:
  1. Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles
  2. Model State Policy
  3. NHTSA's Current Regulatory Tools (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, etc.)
  4. Modern Regulatory Tools

  Additionally, the NHTSA has replaced its conventional four-level system with a new five-level autonomous driving evaluation system.

  This report will cover the new five autonomous driving technology levels and provide an overview of the guidance for the performance of autonomous vehicles (the fifteen safety assessments the NHTSA requests from OEMs).

Three models with level 2 automated systems

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Tesla Model X Volvo S90
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
(NAIAS 2016)
Tesla Model X
(courtesy of Tesla Motors)
Volvo S90
(NAIAS 2016)

Related reports:
Tesla Motors: Accelerating plans for production of 500,000 vehicles to 2018 (Oct. 2016)
Toyota's ADAS technologies: Autonomous Vehicle and ADAS Japan 2016 (1) (Aug. 2016)
TU-Automotive Detroit 2015: Impact of autonomous vehicle development (Jun. 2015)