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NHTSA To Accelerate Reviews Of Automakers’ Self-Driving Appeals

The U.S. auto safety regulator proclaimed that it is accelerating the process for assessing whether automakers can use autonomous vehicles without tools such as steering wheels and brakes. Currently, automakers have to meet about 75 auto safety criteria. Of them, numerous criteria are based on the supposition that a licensed driver can manage the vehicle with the help of conventional human controls.

Recently, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the issue of an ultimate regulation that would streamline the assessment process. NHTSA removed a condition that calls for the agency to determine a petition is comprehensive before publishing its synopsis for public comments. Heidi King, Deputy Administrator, NHTSA, announced in a statement that the rule advances both the transparency and efficiency of the process to focus on the safety assessment. Under the regulation, automakers can appeal for an exception of up to 2,500 vehicles for vehicle safety standards. This is valid provided that they are, in any case, as safe as present vehicles.

On a similar note, recently, the U.S. drivers sued Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors owing to a suspected fault that could cause particular engines to catch fire. This added pressure on the South Korean automakers being investigated by the U.S. authorities. Earlier, over 350 consumer complaints were reported to NHTSA. These complaints highlighted the non-collision fires in Kia and Hyundai vehicles as an outcome of the automakers’ “concealment of the fault,” as per the class-action complaint filed.

Last week, this complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by Hagens Berman, a law company. The U.S. auto-safety regulator started inquiring on the aptness and scope of the carmakers’ recalls associated with manufacturing faults in “Theta II” engines. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has started a criminal inquiry of the issue.

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