The Obama administration’s proposed guidelines for self-driving cars, which include 15 benchmarks automakers will need to meet before their autonomous vehicles can hit the road.
The companies will have to show how their virtual drivers will function, what happens if they fail and how they’ve been tested, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. The automakers must make vehicle performance assessments public so regulators and other companies can evaluate them.
The new guidelines include recommendations for states to pass legislation on introducing self-driving cars safely on their highways. It says states should continue to license human drivers, enforce traffic laws, inspect vehicles for safety and regulate insurance and liability. The federal government, it said, should set standards for equipment, including the computers that could potentially take over the driving function. It will also continue to investigate safety defect and enforce recalls.
Companies that have invested in developing the vehicles, including Tesla Motors, General Motors and Google, say federal leadership is needed to keep states from passing their own contradictory laws. The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, whose members include Uber Technologies and Lyft, supports standardizing automated car policies among the states.
Questions about self-driving car safety were elevated in July, when a fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle was made public.