US regulators want public’s view on cars with no steering wheel, brakes

US regulators want public's view on cars with no steering wheel, brakes

U.S. regulators will ask the public if robotic cars should be allowed on streets without steering wheels or brake pedals as they try to set the first legal boundaries for their design in the world’s second largest vehicle market.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has delayed action for 15 months on General Motors Co’s request to deploy a limited number vehicles on U.S. roads without steering wheels or other human controls such as a brake pedal. Advertisement In GM’s petition, NHTSA will for the first time compare a vehicle in which all driving decisions are made by a computer versus a human driver. NHTSA called it “an important case of first impression,” presenting “novel and important issues.”

The decision to move forward comes amid heightened concerns about automated piloting systems in vehicles and aircraft.

A fatal 2018 accident involving a self-driving vehicle operated by Uber Technologies Inc and two deadly plane crashes involving highly automated Boeing 737 MAX airliners have put a spotlight on the ability of regulators to assess the safety of advanced systems that substitute machine intelligence for human judgment.

NHTSA is also seeking public comment on a separate petition by Softbank Corp-backed driverless delivery startup Nuro to deploy a limited number of low-speed, highly automated delivery vehicles without human occupants. Advertisement For example, Nuro, which partnered with Kroger Co last year to deliver groceries, seeks approval not to include a windshield in the vehicle.

The petitions want exemptions from U.S. vehicle safety rules largely written decades ago that assume human drivers would always be […]

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