US DOT outlines safe transition to self-driving cars

94 percent of serious crashes are due to human error.

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US legislation for self-driving cars first made its way to the House of Representatives this past July. The bipartisan SELF DRIVE Act passed the House vote on September the 6th, and will now need to go through the Senate. Odds are that we'll see autonomous cars on the road sooner rather than later, thanks to this bill and new voluntary guidance The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The governmental agencies released new guidelines on Tuesday that provide federal guidance for automated driving systems to both individual states and businesses.

There are driver assist systems already in place that can help you swerve before you even realize you need to, of course. According to the NHTSA, 94 percent of serious crashes are due to human error. The new federal guidelines attempt to make sure we can transition from these semi-autonomous cars to fully driverless ones safely and effectively.

"The new Guidance supports further development of this important new technology, which has the potential to change the way we travel and how we deliver goods and services," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a statement. "The safe deployment of automated vehicle technologies means we can look forward to a future with fewer traffic fatalities and increased mobility for all Americans."

Called "A Vision for Safety 2.0," the voluntary guidelines build on the previous policy by focusing on the next three levels of automated driving systems (ADSs): conditional assistance, high assistance, and fully automated systems. Under the new guidance, states and companies do not need to wait to test or deploy their ADSs, either. The Department of Transportation is already planning for the next version 3.0 to make sure automated vehicles can be on the nation's roads safely and quickly.