NHTSA seeks public comments to identify any regulatory barriers in the existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to the testing, compliance certification and compliance verification of motor vehicles with Automated Driving Systems (ADSs) and certain unconventional interior designs. NHTSA is focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on vehicles with ADSs that lack controls for a human driver; e.g., steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal. The absence of manual driving controls, and thus of a human driver, poses potential barriers to testing, compliance certification and compliance verification. For example, many of the FMVSS refer to the “driver” or “driver's seating position” in specifying where various vehicle features and systems need to be located so that they can be seen and/or used by a person sitting in that position. Further, the compliance test procedures of some FMVSS depend on the presence of such things as a human test driver who can follow instructions on test driving maneuvers or a steering wheel that can be used by an automated steering machine. NHTSA also seeks comments on the research that would be needed to determine how to amend the FMVSS in order to remove such barriers, while retaining those existing safety requirements that will be needed and appropriate for those vehicles. In all cases, the Agency's goal would be to ensure the maintenance of currently required levels of safety performance. These comments will aid the Agency in setting research priorities as well as inform its subsequent actions to lay a path for innovative vehicle designs and technologies that feature ADSs.
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