The US NHTSA is reviewing petitions to allow a limited number of low-speed, highly automated delivery vehicles without human occupants on American roads.
A Cruise self-driving car, which is owned by General Motors Corp, is seen outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco where it does most of its testing, in California, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Heather Somerville/File Photo
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is holding talks with General Motors Co on the automaker’s petition to deploy a limited number of self-driving vehicles on American roads without steering wheels or other human controls, the head of the agency said. Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens said his agency aims to make a decision soon on GM’s January 2018 petition as well as a request by Softbank Corp-backed startup Nuro to deploy a limited number of low-speed, highly automated delivery vehicles without human occupants.
The agency’s review comes at a time of heightened concerns about the safety of automated piloting systems in vehicles and aircraft, a potential revolution in ground and air transportation. “I expect we’re going to be able to move forward with these petitions soon – as soon as we can,” Owens told Reuters, adding action “definitely” would come next year. “This will be a big deal because this will be the first such action that will be taken,” Owens said.