US: “Certain standards are only relevant when human drivers are present.”

The US intends to relax federal safety rules for driverless vehicles:

Under current US safety rules, a motor vehicle must have traditional controls, like a steering wheel, mirrors, and foot pedals, before it is allowed to operate on public roads. But that could all change under a new plan released on Thursday by the Department of Transportation that’s intended to open the floodgates for fully driverless cars.

The department, through the NHTSA, “intends to reconsider the necessity and appropriateness of its current safety standards” as applied to autonomous vehicles, the 80-page document reads. In particular, regulators say they will look to change those safety standards “to accommodate automated vehicle technologies and the possibility of setting exceptions to certain standards — that are relevant only when human drivers are present.”

Here come the robo-pods!

Changing these rules would pave the way for companies like Alphabet’s Waymo and General Motors to release hundreds of thousands of fully automated vehicles on public roads. GM announced this week its plan to join forces with Honda to produce a purpose-built autonomous vehicle without traditional controls.

“Automated Vehicles 3.0” is the third iteration of the federal government’s voluntary guidelines on the development and safe deployment of automated vehicle technology. And it puts a fine point on the pro-business, laissez-faire approach to self-driving cars that the federal government has been espousing for several years now.