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Share Your Feedback: U.S. Department of Transportation Seeks Public Comment on Automated Driving System Safety Principles


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages relevant stakeholders to respond to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) request for public comment on the potential development of a framework for Automated Driving System (ADS) safety. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) was submitted to the Federal Register on November 19, 2020, and is available online.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao noted: “This rulemaking will help address legitimate public concerns about safety, security and privacy without hampering innovation in the development of automated driving systems.”

Background on ADS

An ADS refers to the hardware and software that collectively are capable of performing the entire dynamic driving task on a sustained basis, regardless of whether it is limited to a specific operational design domain. At some point, ADS could potentially handle the whole task of driving in a situation where drivers/passengers do not want to or cannot do it themselves.

As the NHTSA explains, even though wide-scale deployment of ADS still may be several years away, many companies are "actively developing and testing ADS technology throughout the United States." To that end, NHTSA seeks specific feedback on key components that can meet the need for motor vehicle safety while enabling innovative designs, in a manner consistent with agency authorities.

“ADS technologies are different from more conventional automotive equipment, and it is necessary and appropriate to consider how ADS standards can and should be articulated,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens. “The framework of principles would objectively define, assess, and manage the safety of ADS, while ensuring the flexibility to enable further innovation."

Among its key points, the NHTSA request emphasizes that commenters should consider, for example:

  • What engineering and process measures should be included, and what aspects of ADS performance are suitable for potential safety performance standard setting


  • Whether specific regulations are appropriate or necessary prior to the broad commercial deployment of the technology, and, if so, how regulations could be developed consistent with the Agency’s legal obligations without being based upon the existence of commercially available ADS technology from which to measure required performance


  • How the need for and benefits of issuing regulations can be assessed before ADS become to allow testing and validation of the assumptions supporting those needs and benefits


  • Which type or types of administrative mechanisms would be most appropriate for constructing the framework, either in general or for its component parts, and ensuring its effective and efficient implementation

Access more information via the NHTSA announcement. Written comments are due no later than 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]