The US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has announced that General Motors’ petition for exemption of its “Zero-Emission Autonomous Vehicle” will undergo public comment with the Federal Registrar for 60 days.
GM’s petition seeks exemptions to 16 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for its autonomous vehicles because, primarily, the vehicles will not be equipped with “a steering wheel, manually-operated gear selection mechanism, or foot pedals for braking and accelerating.” The exemptions are sought for only a limited number of GM’s autonomous vehicles “to advance safety and low‐emission technology.”
GM provides two reasons for exemptions: 1) “it would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a level of safety at least equal to those of FMVSS from which exemption is requested.” and/or 2) “it would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle without unreasonably lowering the safety performance of the vehicle.”
The petition seeks to conform current safety standards to account for computer drivers, while improving overall driver safety. The final date to submit public comment has not yet been published but will be available on the Federal Registrar.