The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a Standing General Order requiring manufacturers and operators of vehicles equipped with SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) or SAE Levels 3 to 5 automated driving systems (ADS) to report crashes. The NHTSA says this action will enable it to collect information necessary for the agency to play its role in keeping people safe as the technology deployed on the country’s roads continues to evolve.
“[The] NHTSA’s core mission is safety. By mandating crash reporting, the agency will have access to critical data that will help quickly identify safety issues that could emerge in these automated systems,” said the NHTSA’s Acting Administrator, Dr Steven Cliff. “In fact, gathering data will help instil public confidence that the federal government is closely overseeing the safety of automated vehicles.”
The order requires vehicle and equipment (including software) manufacturers of Level 2 ADAS or Levels 3 to 5 ADS systems and vehicles and operators of ADS-equipped vehicles to report crashes where the Level 2 ADAS or Level 3 to 5 ADS system was engaged during or immediately before the crash.
The NHTSA says this data will increase transparency and help the agency identify potential safety issues and impacts resulting from the operation of advanced technologies on public roads. Access to ADS data may show whether there are common patterns in driverless vehicle crashes or systematic problems in operation.
“Level 2 ADAS is an increasingly common feature on many new vehicles and provides driver assist functions that combine technologies, like lane centring assistance and adaptive cruise control, where the vehicle is able to control certain aspects of steering and speed,” the agency said. “Drivers, though, must remain engaged and alert at all times when using these systems, as they are not designed and not able to perform critical operating components of the driving task. ADS-equipped vehicles, which are able to perform the complete driving task in limited circumstances, are not currently sold to consumers but are in limited use on public roads around the country for testing, ride sharing and goods delivery.”
The agency said its review and analysis will include all information and incidents relevant to any potential safety defects. Additionally, the NHTSA may take further action on any individual crash, including using a Special Crash Investigations team and requiring the company to provide additional information. The NHTSA may also open defect investigations as warranted.