U.S. House of Representatives Moves Forward With Autonomous Driving Legislation

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The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection has passed draft legislation out of subcommittee to enter the general assembly for vote. The legislation, which is still in draft form, will likely be heard at the 115th Congress this year.

The bill would clarify what is the federal government’s responsibility when it comes to approval of autonomous and mostly-autonomous vehicles (defined as “highly autonomous”) and gives jurisdiction for the testing, development, and deployment of them within the United States to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This diminishes the role of the individual states and gives more power to the NHTSA in regards to autonomous vehicles.

The legislation requires the NHTSA to set standards and certifications for self-driving vehicles and publish that rulemaking and safety priority plan. Although the legislation does not specify what those standards would be, we can assume they will be similar to the safety ratings system that NHTSA publishes for vehicles now and that these ratings for autonomous vehicles could appear on the window sticker (“Monroney”) as well.

Finally, the bill requires manufacturers to develop written cybersecurity plans for vulnerability detection, identification, investigation, and management. Manufacturers must have individual(s) in their organization who are directly responsible for cybersecurity management.

Finally, in order to encourage federal-level testing of semi-automated and automated vehicles, the legislation would expand the number of vehicles and technologies that the NHTSA can approve for testing.

The legislation can be read here.

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