US DOT Releases New Automated Driving Systems Guidance


The U.S. Department of Transportation and its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have issued new federal guidelines for self-driving vehicles. The Automated Driving Systems (ADS): A Vision for Safety 2.0 is the latest guide for the automotive industry in the United States as a set of rules for automakers and equipment manufacturers to use. Compliance is voluntary.

“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,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “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 builds on the previous policy and incorporates feedback received through public  comments and Congressional hearings. 2.0 paves the way for the safe deployment of advanced driver assistance technologies by providing voluntary guidance that encourages best practices and prioritizes safety. The document also provides technical assistance to States and best practices for policymakers.

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. 

The Guidance and more information on automated vehicles can be found at