Guidance clears the way for automakers and suppliers to test autonomous systems on the open road without obtaining regulatory permission. James M Amend reports.

US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao releases a new set of federal autonomous-vehicle guidelines for the industry and state governments to follow in the pursuit of bringing fully automated cars and trucks to the nation’s roadways.

The voluntary guidance is considered more flexible than those offered under the Obama administration and appears to follow President Trump’s pledge to ease some regulatory regimes to stimulate the economy.

For example, the guidance clears the way for automakers and suppliers to test autonomous systems on the open road without obtaining regulatory permission and clarifies the role of federal and state bodies on the issue: NHTSA will regulate vehicle safety and equipment, while states will be responsible for drivers and vehicle operation.

Chao expects Automated Driving Systems (ADS): A Vision for Safety 2.0 to fuel innovation around autonomous vehicles, which promises improved safety, reduced traffic congestion and fewer harmful tailpipe emissions, as well as heightened productivity from Americans spending less time stuck in traffic. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.

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