The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided it's time to step back into the regulatory driver's seat, this time to outline the way forward for autonomous vehicles. Cars with partial self-driving capability are expected to arrive by 2020, and it's said that vehicles that can shuttle you around with any driver inputs should be here by 2025. In the interest of keeping everyone safe and ushering in a coherent state-by-state framework, NHTSA is planning a four-year initial research program that look at all the ways in which autonomous and partially autonomous technologies can have an impact on safety. According to USA Today, NHTSA is recommending that states authorize "operation of self-driving vehicles, for test purposes," something that isn't even a given across all 50 states yet.

In addition, NHTSA is interested in peripheral active safety features, including safety monitors that help cars stay in their lanes or brake assist systems that slow cars automatically in the case of an imminent collision, and it will be looking at whether these kinds of driving aids should be mandatory.


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  • 28 Comments
      SublimeKnight
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's say true driverless cars arrive in 2025. How long after that do car insurance rates increase to the point that it no longer makes financial sense to be able to drive?
        q`Tzal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        This is the only model of societal acceptance of not driving anymore that makes any sense in 'Murica. As soon as the first HINT of a self driving car hit the scene over a decade ago we were already hearing the old tired "from my cold dead hands" refrain. There is not law requiring the use of self driving cars that could pass any legislature in the USA. To outsiders America may seem to be a Christian state, this would be misguided: our #1 religion is GREED. AS SOON AS the auto insurers see that a cheap device can be retrofitted to any automobile every driver will get a policy renewal requiring a comprehensive proof of skill and an outright rejection of coverage for those that insist on driving manually. Just as the Veterans Administration is paying out more for soldiers that are no longer dying on the battlefield so too will medical technology ensure that fewer deaths occur from crashes, there will just be more and costlier disability payouts. Insurance costs money and since September 11th, 2001 we have lost over 35,000 lives PER YEAR to automotive related accidents. Insurance companies are beholden to shareholders and profits are lost paying out for victims that survive.
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      Come on take a chance, you won't know till you try once. Not like you are going to contract a disease from it. Don't be all grumpy old men spewing out gibberish: "Gosh darn electric fuel interjecters, XratedTronic trans hookers got no gears, POS electro suspension settings to give you sissy boys comfort ride back in our day we had slop in the steering and liked it. Crazy contraptions with your Iphuds, need to buy junk ding dong dangles to hook up and play the musacs from the radios cause you ain't got no ding dong dangle you sissy boy."
        The_Zachalope
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cruising
        I'll stop being the "grumpy old man" who is poo-pooing on autonomous cars until they can prove they will be able to perform in conditions other than pavement. I have yet to see the results of any testing in snow, on gravel roads, on ice, etc. which most drivers deal with.
          Cruising
          • 2 Years Ago
          @The_Zachalope
          This is a valid point and Google has announced studies and testing in those conditions, won't be overnight but I expect it can out perform man driving. Seen all those videos of people crashing on icy/snowy roads on YouTube even in the north where they are suppose to be "experts" unlike the rest of us in warmer temps.
      AcidTonic
      • 2 Years Ago
      First they came for the ability to turn off traction control, and you didn't care because you have no need to turn it off yourself since you don't have a sports car. Then they came for the manual transmission and you didn't care because you drive an auto..... Now they are coming for your steering wheel and thanks to your previous non-action, we have little chance of winning this battle.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        [blocked]
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Who is the 'they' that you are referring to?
          mapoftazifosho
          • 2 Years Ago
          @The Wasp
          DON'T TREAD ON ME! MERICA!!!!!!!!
          • 2 Years Ago
          @The Wasp
          [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        [blocked]
      Edsel
      • 2 Years Ago
      One-hundred-twenty years ago you could instruct your family horse to "take me home". It would avoid obstacles day or night, maintain speeds appropriate for conditions, travel through three feet of snow, and pull heavy loads. The horse was the first self-navigating conveyance.
        crshcrstr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Edsel
        And yet, not having to clean out my car's "stable" makes all the suffering worth while...
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Edsel
        After you tell it to 'take you home', where do you think you would end up? Probably out in a pasture grazing. Horses are self-navigating if you want to go wherever they want to go -- otherwise not so much.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm curious which state will be the first to ban autonomous car technology. I predict that some day long range bus companies like Greyhound will have autonomous bus fleets but they'll still have to carry a driver on-board to ferry the bus through a backwards, anti-technology state.
        knightrider_6
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        my guess - West Virginia They have no laws to protect nature or people working in mines, but they do love to ban advances in technology.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        The problem is all cars will eventually be self driving. It will done for your safety, as you must have a risk free life.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          [blocked]
          Bernard
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Except on closed circuit race courses. Those will still exist, and you don't have to be road legal there.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Rich
      • 2 Years Ago
      Google has enough money, have them build there own city for testing.
      emariacher
      • 2 Years Ago
      http://driverless-cars.blogspot.com/2013/06/driverless-cars-vs-bureaucrats-in.html Knowing that european bureaucrats might be even more annoying than Uncle Sam, Mercedes decided to ignore government and put #driverlesscars on the road without asking.
      anon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Liability issues need to be addressed, but that may be beyond the purview of NHTSA, some entity needs to address this or the courts will get overwhelmed and it won\'t be fair.
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