According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) , 94% of serious auto accidents are due to dangerous choices or human errors. Recently developed driver assistance technologies are attempting to address these errors. As these technologies become more and more sophisticated they will ultimately lead to self-driving vehicles.
The NHTSA believes that self-driving vehicles will result in a drastic reduction of auto accident fatalities however we are not there yet. As of Today, the newest vehicles on the market are far from being fully automated but they do have technologies that prevent accidents due to human errors. These technologies can prevent forward collisions, help drivers while backing up and parking and assist them to detect blind spots or to stay in their lane. New technologies can also make sure drivers keep a safe distance in various situations such as driving in traffic jams or on highways.
The NTHSA and the DOT are expecting that vehicles will go through a technological evolution that can be summarized in 6 steps until full automation:
- No automation
- Driver Assistance
- Partial Automation
- Conditional Automation
- High Automation
- Full Automation
While manufacturers are launching more and more sophisticated vehicles and working hard on new prototypes, the US DOT and the States DOT are also busy working on defining new sets of legislation and crafting safety guidelines for the vehicles of the future.
At he beginning of this month the NHTSA hosted a public listening session on their recently released Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety voluntary guidance. The document that was released in September by the DOT provides a framework for manufacturers to use in choosing how to address a given safety design element. It also supports the States on how to develop legislatures related to self driving vehicles.
More information on “Automated Vehicle for Safety” can be found on the National Highway Traffic Safety website.