- the department of transportation has initiated a voluntary standardized system for autonomous-driving companies and state, local, and federal governments to share data. about self-driving technology and testing.
- the system is not compulsory, and so far only a fraction of the companies working on self-driving-car tech have signed up.
- the group advocates for highway and auto safety are not pleased with the voluntary aspect of the initiative.
the department of transportation (dot) has announced its new voluntary automated vehicle transparency and engagement for safe testing (av test) initiative with nine companies and eight states participating. the system will standardize the way companies and states share information using a platform created by the dot. av test is meant to expand the transparency of the state of autonomous-car testing, but its voluntary nature could miss any bad actors testing on public roads.
companies working on autonomous technology that have already signed up are beep, cruise, fiat chrysler automobiles, local motors, navya, nuro, toyota, uber, and waymo. the states that have signed up for the initiative are california, florida, maryland, michigan, ohio, pennsylvania, texas, and utah. noticeably absent are nevada and arizona, where many companies test their autonomous-vehicle technology.
for the public, the system would be a public-facing platform where people can use online mapping tools that may show testing locations at the local, state, and regional levels in addition to activity data. that information may include dates, frequency of tests, vehicle counts, and the routes being driven. there's no concrete assurance from the dot that any of these pieces of information will be shared, since the system is voluntary.
that is not sitting well with the advocates for highway and auto safety. "national highway traffic safety administration deputy administrator james owens says he wants to make sure that safety is 'baked' into the product design and testing of new self-driving technologies. unfortunately, nhtsa's reliance on voluntary industry actions to accomplish this is a recipe for disaster. it has been reported that at least 80 companies are testing autonomous vehicles. yet, only 20 have submitted safety assessments to the u.s. department of transportation under the current voluntary guidelines, iterations of which have been in place for nearly four years," said the group's president, cathy chase, in a prepared statement.
the initiative will at least create a formal platform that companies and local, federal, and state governments can use to share data. it'll just be interesting to see what sort of data is actually shared. those who are truly interested can sign up for email alerts as new information is added to the database.