Manufacturers of autonomous vehicles (AVs) will have to begin reporting when accidents occur while automated systems are functional.
This follows a Standing General Order issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US on Tuesday.
The order means that manufacturers and drivers of vehicles equipped with level 2 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or level 3 – 5 automated driving systems (ADS) as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers, report crashes to the NHTSA.
“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,” says acting administrator for the NHTSA, Steven Cliff. “In fact, gathering data will help instill public confidence that the federal government is closely overseeing the safety of automated vehicles.”
The order requires manufacturers (vehicle and equipment) to report crashes in the following ways if the relevant systems are in use during or immediately before the crash:
- Within one day of learning of a crash, companies must report crashes involving a Level 2 ADAS or Levels 3-5 ADS-equipped vehicle that also involve a hospital-treated injury, a fatality, a vehicle tow-away, an air bag deployment, or a vulnerable road user such as a pedestrian or bicyclist. An updated report is due 10 days after learning of the crash.
- Every month, companies must report all other crashes involving an ADS-equipped vehicle that involve an injury or property damage.
- Reports must be updated monthly with new or additional information.
- Reports must be submitted for any reportable crash, about which a company receives notice, beginning 10 days after the company is served with the order.
- Reports must be submitted to NHTSA electronically using a form that requires important information regarding the crash. NHTSA will use this information to identify crashes for follow-up.
As Vice points out, this order is rather important as until now reports about crashes have largely been controlled by the manufacturers as they have access to all of their data.
What will be interesting to see is if these precautions are implemented in other parts of the world. Of course that will be determined on a country-by-country basis, but we suspect things have just become a lot more complicated for the likes of Tesla, Waymo and other AV manufacturers.