NHTSA Promotes New “AV STEP” Program to Monitor Road Robots

The acronym STEP has a healthy dose of irony, because the entire reason American “wheelmen” (bicycles) devoted themselves in the late 1800s to paved roads in America was they couldn’t go when and where horses could (e.g. stepping through rain and snow, fields and forests).

The exit interview for the head of the NHTSA highlights their new road robot regulation program idea launched last June.

We’re also considering a new program called AV STEP. That would combine the opportunity for manufacturers to deploy automated vehicles with a process that would allow NHTSA significant access to information about redundancy and safety systems,

This program also has an Automated Vehicle Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing Initiative (AV TEST) component described in an ARTS23 keynote speech.

We’re now looking to use Section 30114 to establish a new program, which we’re calling AV STEP, which I’m really excited to describe for you. Data truly is fundamental to our work, and we are continuously looking for new ways to gather ADS data to inform future oversight and rulemaking. One way we do this is through our import program established under Section 30114.

It started with a short list.

The participating companies are Beep, Cruise, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Local Motors, Navya, Nuro, Toyota, Uber, and Waymo. The States are California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.

The White House occupant in 2016, corrupted by Tesla, not only tried to silence the NHTSA but also declare robot safety a state concern instead of being under federal jurisdiction.

This led to over 30 states allowing known unsafe robots on roads, and predictable unnecessary deaths as a result, making US roads so unsafe it has been “like living through a war“.

AV STEP seems intended to return the country to some semblance of safety science, away from the corruption and fraud spread by Tesla. It’s a “step” in the right direction, although most car brands aren’t yet developing mechanical legs.

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