Government releases proposed rules for driverless cars

Technology -

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued proposed rules for driverless cars.

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Among the proposed rules are separate licenses after users complete training, and reports from automakers detailing all test collisions with the cars. The NHTSA's statement of policy defined automation as having 4 levels, which go from function-specific automation (level 1), to full self-driving automation (level 4).

"Whether we're talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles — and their occupants — are safe." Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood

In the statement released by the NHTSA, it said currently it only recommends authorizing the testing of self-driving cars. So far, only a few states have approved driverless cars.

Regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believe the most successful cars would be cars that are able to self-brake -- which will be especially helpful for older people with slower reflexes.

At an SAE International World Congress in Detroit in April, experts appeared to be in consensus that cars capable of autonomous high-speed driving will be available to the public by 2020, and that fully autonomous vehicles might be on the road in significant numbers by 2025.

Elon Musk, Tesla's founder and CEO, told Bloomberg in early May that his company is talking to Google about its driverless car technology and said he sees a future in which cars can run on "autopilot."

Driverless trucks developed by Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Army, are able to travel in convoy through urban environments, which could protect troops from IEDs.

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