La National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced new rules for the autonomous vehicle industry.
Apparently, they will no longer need steering wheels, brake pedals, driver's seats or manual controls designed for real drivers. The design will be reduced to a minimum, welcoming technology and innovation.
The new regulations they have the purpose of modifying the formulation of the vehicles, which is “obsolete compared to the new design”. If in the previous rules it was foreseen the insertion of the driver's seat, steering wheel and accompanying steering column, today everything changes.
These elements are regarded as logically unnecessary, especially in reference to the latest automotive experiments. We must therefore pursue new standards, which aim to improve the design of cars and build even more spectacular autonomous vehicles.
New era, new autonomous vehicles
After the publication of the new regulation, the agency received negative responses from some industry experts.
According to them, the measure is still "premature", and the industry is not ready to take such a big step towards innovation.
The NHTSA defended itself by talking about safety and driver assistance systems, stating that this part of the standards has not undergone changes. Autonomous vehicles of the new generation will be linked to a new type of design, but still 100% safe.
During the 20s, we will ensure that safety standards keep pace with the development of automated driving and driver assistance systems. This new rule is an important step, establishing solid safety standards for vehicles equipped with ADS. We recognize that uncertainty continues to exist regarding the development and potential deployment of vehicles equipped with the Automatic Drive System (ADS). However, we believe it is appropriate to act right now in anticipation of the emerging ADS vehicle designs that NHTSA has seen in prototype form.from note issued by the agency
Safety and design
A large part of consumers are still scared of autonomous vehicles. The safety problem must be solved as quickly as possible, so as not to slow down production.
Companies work to reassure consumers and, at the same time, create an amazing design.
Many companies have seen the changes as a real win, something they have long aspired to. Some would have liked even more changes.
Tesla even wanted the green light to control a vehicle with a tablet or mobile phone.
Unfortunately, as the company reported: “NHTSA does not agree with Tesla that at this time it is necessary for the definition of manually operated driving commands to take into account the use of tablets or cell phones to control the vehicle. (…) The new definition is intended to include traditional driving controls, not future controls that have not yet been developed ”.