Trump Administration to Unveil Revised Self-Driving Guidelines within Next Months

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said new guidelines are in response to automakers' call for regulations that will sanction their costly efforts to put autonomous vehicles on the road.


U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in February she was reviewing self-driving vehicle guidance issued by the Obama administration in September, but on Monday said the new guidelines "will be released in the next few months, if not sooner." Chao said the new guidelines "will point to a path forward for the safe deployment of automated vehicles."

Chao was not specific about what her department's proposals would include, or how they would differ from policy guidance proposed by the Obama administration.

Companies including Alphabet Inc's self-driving car Waymo unit, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Uber Technologies Inc, Tesla Inc and other are aggressively pursuing automated vehicle technologies.

"We need a more concrete regulatory framework," Ken Washington, chief technology officer of Ford Motor Co, said in Detroit. Automakers could use a clear set of rules to certify on their own that an autonomous vehicle is safe, as they can now with conventional vehicles, Washington said.

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr said at a forum in Washington he feels “quite confident” that the hardware and software will be ready by 2021 for self-driving cars. But other big issues loom. “Things like ethics,” Ford said, saying does the vehicle opt to save 10 pedestrians or the driver. Individual automakers cannot program separate ethics software for self-driving cars but must work together as an industry, Ford said.

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