Automotive regulators look like they may finally be posturing up and playing at least a little bit of hard ball with autonomous driving and/or driver-assisted incidents.
Frequent readers of Zero Hedge know that we have been critical of the job done (or not done, for that matter) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who appears to be taking a "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to regulating what has been an incessant, years-long slew of automated driving accidents, including several fatal ones.
Now, as legacy automakers drift further into the realm of autonomous driving, the NHTSA looks like it is finally ready to set some ground rules. It has "ordered automakers to report any crashes involving fully autonomous vehicles or partially automated driver assist systems", according to the Associated Press.
<cough> Tesla <cough> Elon Musk <cough>
The new rules indicate that "the agency is taking a tougher stance on automated vehicle safety than in the past", according to the report. As we have pointed out on more than one occasion, the NHTSA has been doing little but dragging its feet when it comes to instituting new regulations and rules for driver-assist and autonomous driving systems.
AP hilariously attributed the NHTSA's lack of action thus far to "fear of hampering adoption", which leads us to ask: who is regulating who?
The new order directs auto manufacturers to "report crashes on public roads involving fully autonomous vehicles, or those in which driver assist systems were operating immediately before or during a crash".
NHTSA Acting Administrator Steven Cliff said: “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.”
From there, the NHTSA says it will look for "potential safety defects" and could send out a crash investigation team. This leads us to ask, what has it been doing during its 'investigations' over the last few years?
Regardless, we're sure Tesla will do just fine on the NHTSA honor system to self-report such incidents.
Apparently the humiliation of being miles behind China's (yes, China) consumer protection in automobiles was too much for @NHTSA to take.— Donut Shorts (@DonutShorts) June 29, 2021
Now, they can go back to collecting reports, do nothing about it, and head over to the SEC on pizza days to celebrate their pensions. https://t.co/wfhSHTMJlA