US transportation agency calls March 1 ‘summit’ on autonomous cars

WASHINGTON: Auto manufacturers, technology companies, road safety advocates and policy makers will attend a March 1 conference over potential government actions that could speed the rollout of autonomous cars, the US Transportation Department said on Friday. Last month, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the Trump administration plans to unveil revised self-driving car guidelines this summer as the government sets out to rewrite regulations that pose legal barriers to robot vehicles. Next month’s “summit” is to help “identify priority federal and non-federal activities that can accelerate the safe rollout” of autonomous vehicles, the department said. It will also be open to the public. The US National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants comments on what research to conduct before deciding whether to eliminate or rewrite regulations. It could take the agency years to finalize rule changes, and advocates are pushing Congress to act. In October, the NHTSA said it is looking for ideas on how it can remove regulatory roadblocks to robot cars. NHTSA said it wants to find any “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to self-driving cars “particularly those that are not equipped with controls for a human driver.”

 Published in Daily Times, February  10th2018.