US exempts autonomous vehicles from some crash rules By Reuters

© Reuters.

By Joseph White (Reuters) – The outgoing Trump administration issued new rules on Thursday that would allow automakers to circumvent the crash standards required for conventional vehicles, lowering production costs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the new rules would exempt automated vehicles that are designed to transport only goods, not people, from certain crash standards. The new rules, issued after months of deliberation, would also give manufacturers of autonomous passenger cars more freedom to design vehicles without standard controls, such as steering wheels and brake pedals. “We do not want regulations enacted long before the development of automated technologies present an unwanted and unnecessary barrier to innovation and improved vehicle safety,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said in a statement. The auto and tech industries have long lobbied NHTSA to modify existing vehicle safety standards that worked to drive up the cost of automated cars and trucks. The NHTSA estimated that its rule would save automated vehicle manufacturers up to $ 5.8 billion by 2050, or about $ 995 per vehicle based on an estimated production of 5.8 million vehicles.

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