WASHINGTON—The tire and auto equipment industries have definite ideas on what they want in pending regulation of automated vehicles.
What they eventually will get, however, is still up for debate.
S. 1885, the AV Start Act, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and approved unanimously in October by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
However, five Democratic senators—Dianne Feinstein of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Tom Udall of New Mexico—placed a hold on the legislation in March, because of various concerns regarding the basic safety and security of autonomous vehicles.
A coalition of more than 100 companies and associations wrote the Senate March 5, urging it to pass the AV Start Act.
The coalition—which included the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, the Auto Care Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers Inc.—said the AV Start Act could easily be reconciled with its companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
That bill, H.R. 3388, the Self Drive Act, passed the House by voice vote in September 2017.
"The AV Start Act represents a historic opportunity for Congress to establish a technology-neutral regulatory framework to advance these groundbreaking technologies while supporting research and investment in the U.S.," the coalition wrote.
According to the committee report on the AV Start Act, the bill among other things would:
- Provide enhanced safety oversight by requiring manufacturers to submit complete safety evaluation reports on their autonomous vehicles to the Department of Transportation;
- Reinforce DOT's traditional responsibility for regulating vehicles, while allowing additional research and coordination with state and local governments;
- Reduce barriers to deployment, allowing an enhanced review and approval process for up to 80,000 vehicles per manufacturer in the third year after enactment;
- Maintain the status quo for trucks and buses, while maintaining the DOT's authority in the future to regulate vehicles over 10,000 pounds;
- Create a committee of experts to help the DOT create and update safety regulations relevant to AVs, as well as update crash data collection to include AV-specific information;
- Strengthen cybersecurity protections by directing manufacturers to minimize cybersecurity risks to AVs and authorizing the DOT to work with manufacturers to coordinate vulnerability disclosure policies;
- Improve vehicle safety and data sharing by establishing a committee to report to Congress on AV ownership, control and access;
- Direct the DOT and manufacturers to work together to advance responsible consumer education on the capabilities and limitations of AVs; and
- Forbid the states from issuing AV licenses that discriminate because of disabilities.