Automated Vehicle Technologies 

The Department of Transportation and NHTSA are leaning forward on automated vehicle technologies that could improve safety. There is one number that explains why: 32,675. That’s how many people died on America’s roadways in 2014. In 94 percent of those crashes, we know that a different human choice could have made the difference between life and death.

Automated technologies could help address a large number of those crashes. That is why DOT and NHTSA are aggressively looking for new technologies that could help save lives.

There are real and significant questions about new safety technologies and automated vehicles, particularly in the areas of privacy and cybersecurity. That is why we are taking a deliberative approach, making sure effective safety advances reach market when they are proven so and proven safe.

To that end, in January Secretary Foxx announced the Department’s strategy on autonomous vehicles. That strategy has five main elements:

First: President Obama has proposed a 10-year, $3.9 billion investment in automated safety technologies. That investment will enable a number of key initiatives, from funding large-scale pilot deployments around the country, to funding additional research into automation technologies and cybersecurity.

Second: NHTSA is using its existing authorities to issue regulatory interpretations and exemptions to enable safety innovation.

Third: NHTSA is developing operational guidance for the safe deployment of automated vehicles. This guidance will provide manufacturers and other stakeholders with guidelines for how NHTSA expects safe automated vehicles to behave in a variety of conditions.

Fourth: NHTSA is working with partners to develop model State policy on automated vehicle technologies. NHTSA is seeking to help States develop policies that mesh with those in their neighboring States and Federal policy, so that there is a uniform nationwide framework to help enable innovation.

Fifth: NHTSA is working to develop a plan for what new tools and authorities the agency might need to fulfill our safety mission in this new era.

NHTSA is helping to lead this effort because vehicle technology has a proven track record of saving lives. Automated vehicles may be the next giant leap forward in safety innovation.

While you might not think of them as “automated technologies,” today’s vehicles already include several related safety features. For example, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) has been a standard feature on vehicles since model year 2012 while Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keeping Support are increasingly offered as options.


Automatic Crash Notification (ACN)

Immediately following a crash, this technology notifies emergency responders that a crash has occurred and provides them the location of the crash.


Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)

This technology assists the driver in avoiding or mitigating a collision with another vehicle or object in front of them by automatically applying the brakes. Works with FCW.
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Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

This system uses automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control in critical driving situations.


Forward Collision Warning (FCW)

Using forward-looking sensors, this technology warns the driver of an impending collision so the driver can break or steer to avoid or mitigate the collision.




Lane Departure Warning (LDW)

Using a camera system to track a vehicle's position in relation to lane markings on the road, this technology warns the driver of unintentional lane shifts.




Lane Keeping Support

This technology brings the vehicle back to the middle of its lane when the driver fails to respond to a warning.


Pedestrian Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

This technology alerts the driver of an impending impact with a pedestrian, and can automatically apply the brakes to help avoid impact.


Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications

Vehicle Cybersecurity