Department of Transportation Secretary Visits MCity in Ann Arbor to Release Updated Federal Automated Vehicle Guidance


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MCity is a public-private testing ground for autonomous vehicle technologies.

Photo Courtesy: MCity

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today visited MCity, a public-private venture for testing autonomous vehicles at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to announce updated federal guidelines for connected and automated vehicles. 

The new “Vision for Safety 2.0,” which replaces last year’s Federal Automated Vehicle Policy, is intended to improve safety, mobility, and efficiency through self-driving vehicles.

Specifically, the new Voluntary Guidance: 

  • Focuses on SAE International Levels of Automation 3-5 – Automated Driving Systems (ADSs) – Conditional, High, and Full Automation);
  • Clarifies the guidance process and that entities do not need to wait to test or deploy their ADSs;
  • Revises unnecessary design elements  from the safety self-assessment;
  • Aligns federal guidance with the latest developments and industry terminology; and
  • Clarifies federal and state roles going forward. 

As automated technologies advance, so will the Department’s guidance. It is intended to be flexible and to evolve as technology does. In fact, DOT and NHTSA are already planning for 3.0.  A Vision for Safety is the newest version replacing previous guidance and offers a more flexible approach to advancing the innovation of automated vehicle safety technologies.  

“Our goal at the Department of Transportation is to help usher in this new era of transportation, innovation, and safety, ensuring that our country remains a global leader in autonomous technology,” says Chao. “The new Guidance supports further development of this important new technology, which has the potential to change the way we travel and how we deliver goods and services. The safe deployment of automated vehicle technologies means we can look forward to a future with fewer traffic fatalities and increased mobility for all Americans.”

A Vision for Safety 2.0 calls for industry, state and local governments, safety and mobility advocates, and the public to lay the path for the deployment of automated vehicles and technologies by building on previous policies.

Chao adds that Vision for Safety 2.0 is “not a static document,” and that the federal government’s plans are in alignment with legislation currently in Congress to encourage new, innovative ideas for safer vehicles and transportation. 

Huai Peng, director of MCity, a 32-acre facility designed to replicate a city environment for the expedited testing of autonomous and self driving vehicles, adds that the university will support the DOT’s federal guidance for automated vehicles as the industry continues to grow. 

"Traffic deaths and injuries have been rising in recent years, and the adoption of automated vehicles and technologies will help save lives, cut fuel use and emissions, and bring mobility to those who cannot easily access transportation today,” says Peng, the Roger L. McCarthy Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

"These technologies can save lives and enrich lives and that's why University of Michigan researchers and their industrial partners continue to provide global leadership in developing and deploying advanced driving system technologies. This new federal guidance will help the United States to secure its leadership position."

The third iteration of Vision for Safety is currently slated for release in 2018. More information on A Vision for Safety 2.0 can be found here.

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