Automated Safety Technologies 

Automated Vehicle Technologies

The Department of Transportation and NHTSA are leaning forward on automated safety technologies that could improve safety. There is one reason that explains why: 35,092 people.

That’s how many people died on America’s roadways in 2015. 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. So we are taking a deliberative approach, making sure effective safety advances reach the market when they are 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 authority 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 safety technologies. NHTSA is seeking to help States develop policies that mesh with those in their neighboring States and with Federal policy, so that there is a uniform nationwide framework to 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 ability to potentially save 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 (LKS) are increasingly offered as options.

Safety Technology Home