Removing Regulatory Barriers for Vehicles With Automated Driving Systems

Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 102 (Tuesday, May 28, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 102 (Tuesday, May 28, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 24433-24449]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2019-11032]
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
49 CFR Part 571
[Docket No. NHTSA-2019-0036]
RIN 2127-AM00
Removing Regulatory Barriers for Vehicles With Automated Driving
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Department of Transportation (DOT).
ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).
SUMMARY: NHTSA is seeking public comment on the near- and long-term
challenges of testing and verifying compliance with existing crash
avoidance (100-series) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs)
for Automated Driving System-Dedicated Vehicles (ADS-DVs) that lack
traditional manual controls necessary for a human driver to maneuver
the vehicle and other features intended to facilitate operation of a
vehicle by a human driver, but that are otherwise traditional vehicles
with typical seating configurations. This document seeks comments on
the suitability of various approaches that could be used to address
compliance verification challenges that exist for crash avoidance
standards that either require a manual control; or specify the use of
manual controls in a compliance test procedure. NHTSA's long-term goal
is to use what the agency learns from this ANPRM, as well as the
agency's other research efforts, to develop a proposal to amend the
crash avoidance FMVSSs in ways that address these and other compliance
challenges with a continued focus on safety. This ANPRM builds on
NHTSA's efforts to identify and address regulatory barriers to ADS
technologies, including the request for comments (RFC) on this topic in
January 2018. NHTSA intends to issue two additional documents to remove
barriers in the crashworthiness FMVSSs (200-series standards) and
address issues in the FMVSSs pertaining to telltales, indicators, and
warnings in ADS-DVs.
[[Page 24434]]
DATES: Comments on this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking are due
no later than July 29, 2019.
ADDRESSES: Comments must be identified by Docket Number NHTSA-2019-0036
and may be submitted using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow
the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m.
and 5 p.m. E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Regardless of how you submit your comments, you must include the
docket number identified in the heading of this document. Note that all
comments received, including any personal information provided, will be
posted without change to Please see the ``Privacy
Act'' heading below.
    You may call the Docket Management Facility at 202-366-9826.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments received, go to or the street address
listed above. We will continue to file relevant information in the
Docket as it becomes available.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT
posts these comments, without edit, to, as
described in the system of records notice, DOT/ALL-14 FDMS, accessible
through To facilitate comment tracking
and response, we encourage commenters to provide their name, or the
name of their organization; however, submission of names is completely
optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely
comments will be fully considered.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical issues: David Hines,
Director, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards (Phone: 202-366-1810;
Fax: 202-493-0073). For legal issues: Sara R. Bennett, Attorney-
Advisor, Vehicle Rulemaking and Harmonization, Office of Chief Counsel
(Phone: 202-366-2992; Fax: 202-366-3820).
Table of Contents
I. Executive Summary
I. Introduction
II. Background
III. NHTSA's Efforts To Provide Guidance and Regulatory Certainty
IV. Stakeholder Feedback
V. Addressing Barriers in the FMVSS
    A. Example #1 (FMVSS No. 135): Manual Control Required
    B. Example #2 (FMVSS No. 126): Existing Test Procedures That
Cannot Be Executed Absent Manual Controls
    C. Additional Barrier Examples
VI. Possible Approaches To Revising Crash Avoidance Test Procedures
    A. Normal ADS-DV Operation
    B. Test Mode With Pre-Programmed Execution (TMPE)
    C. Test Mode With External Control (TMEC)
    D. Simulation
    E. Technical Documentation for System Design and/or Performance
    F. Use of Surrogate Vehicle With Human Controls
VII. Public Participation
VIII. Rulemaking Analyses
I. Executive Summary
    This Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is a
continuation of NHTSA's efforts to gather input from stakeholders and
the public regarding what approaches to propose to address potential
challenges to the verification of the compliance with the Federal Motor
Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) of Automated Driving System-Dedicated
Vehicles (ADS-DVs) \1\ that lack traditional manual controls, but have
traditional seating configurations. In this document, the agency first
discusses the types of barriers posed by the existing crash avoidance
standards and, second, what types of test methods could be employed to
test vehicles that lack traditional controls. NHTSA believes that
safety should be the preeminent consideration when evaluating whether
and how the test methods discussed in this document could be used to
address regulatory barriers to ADS-DVs. NHTSA notes that the focus of
this document is ADS-DVs, and that the agency is not at this time
considering changing the applicability of current requirements to
traditional vehicles.
    \1\ An ADS is the hardware and software that are collectively
capable of performing the entire dynamic driving task (DDT) on a
sustained basis, regardless of whether it is limited to a specific
operational design domain. The term ``ADS'' specifically refers to
SAE Level 3, 4, or 5 driving automation systems as described in SAE
J3016_201806 Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Driving
Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles. However, the focus of
this document is on ADS-DVs that lack traditional manual controls,
but have traditional seating configurations. ADS-DVs which are
defined as vehicles designed to be operated exclusively by a level 4
or level 5 ADS for all trips within its given ODD limitations (if
any). Id. For the purposes of this ANPRM, manual controls include
traditional driving input mechanisms, such as the steering wheel,
accelerator pedal, brake pedal, and transmission gear selector
controls. We refer to these vehicles in the balance of the document
as ``ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls.''
    Comments are requested on these approaches and specifically on
their feasibility and permissibility as additions to relevant crash
avoidance FMVSSs.
    To address barriers posed by the rest of the FMVSSs, NHTSA intends
to issue two additional documents, one for the crashworthiness FMVSSs
(200-series standards) and another for telltales, indicators, and
I. Introduction
    The development of ADSs brings the possibility of associated
reductions in the number of motor vehicle crashes, deaths, injuries,
and associated economic costs. This document is one of three documents
\2\ NHTSA is issuing to begin the development and implementation of a
comprehensive strategy to update the FMVSSs to maintain the required
performance levels of existing standards for ADS-DVs without
traditional manual controls while addressing regulatory barriers to the
compliance verification of these vehicles. This ANPRM is intended to
solicit focused feedback on the feasibility and permissibility of a
number of approaches to addressing the challenges in certifying or
verifying compliance to certain crash avoidance (100-series) for ADS-
DVs without manual controls.\3\
    \2\ See The
Regulatory Identification Numbers for the two other documents are
RIN 2127-AM06, RIN 2127-AM07.
    \3\ This document, therefore, does not address the regulation of
ADS equipment or its performance, but rather focuses on determining
and specifying in the FMVSS the processes that the agency will use
in conducting compliance verification for vehicles without manual
controls. This document is also not intended to address regulatory
challenges relating to information or visibility requirements in the
FMVSS (e.g., telltales, indicator lamps), the occupant protection
requirements in the ``crashworthiness'' (200-series) FMVSS, dual-
mode vehicles (i.e., that can be either driven using manual controls
or by the ADS), bi-directional vehicles, or vehicles with non-
traditional seating configurations (e.g., ``campfire'' seating
arrangement). NHTSA intends to address these and other related
topics in research and future documents.
    While some ADS-DVs are equipped with manual controls, and thus
NHTSA can conduct compliance verification testing of those vehicles
using current test procedures, this is not the case with all ADS-DVs.
Specifically, this ANPRM focuses on ADS-DVs without traditional manual
controls and that may also lack other features intended to facilitate
[[Page 24435]]
operation of a vehicle by a human driver. NHTSA believes that
modifications of the existing regulatory text, including definitions
and test methods used to perform some existing 100-series FMVSS
compliance tests, may be necessary for the agency to assess the
vehicles' compliance with certain existing FMVSS. The agency intends to
explore modifications to the standards with a continued focus on
    NHTSA notes that some equipment required under the current FMVSSs
provide safety benefits beyond what the agency had originally
contemplated at the time each FMVSS was promulgated. For instance,
while the agency may have established rear visibility mirror
performance requirements based on the safety need for a driver's
visibility while driving, outside rearview mirrors have come to serve
an additional safety function when a vehicle is parked by providing
occupants information regarding whether it is safe to exit the vehicle.
Such additional safety benefits must be considered in evaluating their
continued necessity on an ADS-DV without traditional manual controls.
    In this document, NHTSA discusses two potential types of regulatory
barriers for ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls, describes a
FMVSS that exemplifies each challenge, and presents a brief overview of
comments on the request for comment (RFC). The agency also presents and
seeks comment regarding the safety impacts of using alternative
compliance test verification methods to conduct compliance verification
testing for these types of vehicles, assuming that the standards and
procedures could be revisited to appropriately ensure the existing
standard of performance without requiring, directly or indirectly,
manual controls. NHTSA has initiated work in these areas, including an
internal evaluation of regulatory requirements as well as an ongoing
research project with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
(VTTI). The agency anticipates significant overlap between the
standards identified and discussed in this ANPRM and the provisions and
requirements identified by VTTI through its research activity and
analysis. The comments received in response to this document will
supplement the research to ensure that NHTSA is considering all
stakeholders' perspectives when developing proposals to modify the
existing FMVSSs.
II. Background
    NHTSA's primary exercise of its regulatory authority under the
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, as amended (``Safety
Act''), involves the development, establishment, and enforcement of the
FMVSSs.\4\ FMVSSs, including the tests they specify, must be:
Practicable, both technologically and economically; objective, meaning
that they must produce identical results when tests are conducted in
identical conditions and determinations of compliance must be based on
scientific measurements, not subjective opinion; and meet the need for
safety.\5\ In addition, in issuing a FMVSS, the agency must consider
whether the standard is reasonable, practicable, and appropriate for
the types of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment for which it is
prescribed.\6\ NHTSA possesses broad general rulemaking authority to
issue regulations to assist in implementing the Safety Act.\7\
    \4\ 49 U.S.C. 30111.
    \5\ 49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(9), 30111(a).
    \6\ 49 U.S.C. 30111(b)(3).
    \7\ The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, as
amended (Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 730) contained a section that
authorized the Secretary to issue, amend, and revoke rules and
regulations that the Secretary deemed necessary to carry out the
subchapter (i.e., ``general rulemaking authority''). See S. Rep. No.
91-559, at 3136, 3141 (1969) That section was repealed as surplus
during codification. See 15 U.S.C.A. Sec.  1406. 49 U.S.C. 322(a)
separately provides the Secretary with such authority. The Secretary
has, in turn, delegated that authority to all modal Administrators.
49 CFR 1.81 (a)(3).
    Manufacturers must certify that their motor vehicles comply with
all applicable standards before the vehicles can be sold, offered for
sale, introduced or delivered for introduction in interstate commerce,
or imported into the United States.\8\ Generally speaking,
certification to a standard means that the manufacturer, in exercising
reasonable care, certifies that the vehicle meets the requirements of
that standard, and that if the vehicle were to be tested according to
the test procedures contained in the FMVSSs, the vehicle would meet or
exceed the level of performance specified in the standard. That is,
while NHTSA verifies that vehicles are compliant with the FMVSSs by
conducting compliance tests as they are set forth in the FMVSSs and
NHTSA's corresponding compliance test procedures, manufacturers are not
required to follow the compliance test procedures, and, instead, simply
may not certify a vehicle as compliant, if ``in exercising reasonable
care, the [manufacturer] has reason to know the certificate is false or
misleading in material respect.'' \9\ Absent an exemption or exception,
ADS-DVs must comply with all applicable FMVSSs.\10\
    \8\ 49 U.S.C. 30115(a).
    \9\ Id.
    \10\ 49 U.S.C. 30112.
    As the federal agency charged with reducing crashes and deaths and
injuries resulting from crashes on the nation's roadways,\11\ NHTSA is
encouraged by the potential for safety improvements through new ADS
technologies being developed by automobile manufacturers and other
innovators. NHTSA anticipates that ADS-DVs can serve a vital safety
role on the Nation's roads, particularly since human error and choice
are critical factors behind the occurrence of a large number of
    \11\ 49 U.S.C. 30101.
    \12\ See Critical Reasons for Crashes Investigated in the
National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (February 2015),
available at
    However, for ADS technologies to develop fully, technological and
regulatory barriers must be overcome. NHTSA wants to take this
opportunity to reaffirm that, despite the use of the term ``regulatory
barrier'' in this and other future documents, the existing FMVSSs
neither have any provisions addressing the self-driving capability of
an ADS nor prohibit inclusion of ADS components on a vehicle. Likewise,
nothing in those standards poses testing or certification challenges
for vehicles with ADSs so long as the vehicles have means of manual
control and conventional seating, and otherwise meet the performance
requirements of the FMVSSs. Thus, it is a manufacturer's design of a
motor vehicle without manual driving controls, design of a motor
vehicle with novel seating configurations or orientations, or a covered
party's disabling of any part of a device or element of design of a
motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment that is currently in
compliance with applicable FMVSSs, that could complicate the compliance
of the vehicle to the existing FMVSSs \13\--not solely the inclusion of
[[Page 24436]]
the hardware and software that make up an ADS. For ADS-DVs not designed
to ever be driven by a human, requiring installation of traditional
manual controls results in unnecessary design restrictions and
regulatory expense.
    \13\ A covered party is defined as a manufacturer, distributor,
dealer, rental company, or motor vehicle repair business. 49 U.S.C.
30122. Covered parties are prohibited from knowingly making
inoperative any part of a device or element of design installed in a
new or used motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in compliance
with an applicable FMVSS. Id. The make inoperative prohibition
contains an exception that applies when the covered party
``reasonably believes'' the vehicle or equipment with the
inoperative device or element will only be used ``for testing or a
similar purpose during maintenance and repair.'' Id. NHTSA has
additional exemption authority with regard to the ``make
inoperative'' prohibition and may prescribe regulations to exempt a
person or a class of persons from this prohibition if the Agency
decides the exemption is consistent with motor vehicle safety and
the purposes of the Act. 49 U.S.C. 30122(c). NHTSA has issued
regulatory exemptions to the make inoperative prohibition for the
installation of airbag on/off switches and other modifications to
accommodate people with disabilities. 49 CFR part 595.
III. NHTSA's Efforts To Provide Guidance and Regulatory Certainty
    This ANPRM builds on NHTSA's efforts in recent years to identify
and address regulatory barriers to ADS technologies. NHTSA has already
taken steps to address technological barriers through the publication
of agency guidance to ensure the safe development and deployment of ADS
technologies. In September 2017, the DOT released the guidance document
Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety to provide guidance
to the public, particularly industry stakeholders and the States. A
Vision for Safety discussed 12 priority safety design elements for
manufacturers and other innovators involved in ADS development,
including vehicle cybersecurity, human machine interface,
crashworthiness, consumer education and training, and post-crash ADS
behavior. More recently, DOT released Preparing for the Future of
Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0, a complementary document to the
2017 guidance that introduces guiding principles that will support
Departmental programs and policies and describes the DOT's multi-modal
strategy to address existing barriers to safety innovation and
progress. It also communicates DOT's agenda to the public and
stakeholders on important policy issues and identifies opportunities
for cross-modal collaboration. DOT's automation principles are: (1) We
will prioritize safety; (2) We will remain technology neutral; (3) We
will modernize regulations; (4) We will encourage a consistent
regulatory and operational environment; (5) We will prepare proactively
for automation; and (6) We will protect and enhance the freedoms
enjoyed by Americans.
    NHTSA has also conducted research activities to help inform its
decision-making with regard to identifying and resolving regulatory
barriers. NHTSA, in collaboration with the Volpe National
Transportation Systems Center, conducted a preliminary report
identifying barriers to the compliance testing and self-certification
of ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls. In March 2016, that
report was published (the ``Volpe Report'').\14\ The report focused on
FMVSS requirements that present barriers to the compliance testing and
self-certification of ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls
because they refer to a human driver.\15\
    \14\ Kim, Perlman, Bogard, and Harrington (2016, March) Review
of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for Automated
Vehicles, Preliminary Report. US DOT Volpe Center, Cambridge, MA.
Available at:
    \15\ The term `driver' is defined in Sec.  571.3 as follows:
``Driver means the occupant of the motor vehicle seated immediately
behind the steering control system.''
    Based on the Volpe Report findings, in 2017, NHTSA initiated work
with VTTI to expand upon the work performed by Volpe by performing
analysis and industry outreach to identify potential approaches for
addressing compliance verification barriers.\16\ Through this contract
with NHTSA, VTTI is going beyond the initial work in the Volpe Report
and taking a broader look at possible modifications to the current
FMVSS regulatory text and test procedures that would both maintain
safety and ensure regulatory certainty for manufacturers of ADS-DVs
without traditional manual controls. The VTTI project, as currently
scoped, is separated into two phases. Phase I, which will include the
technical translation of 30 FMVSSs and associated test procedures,
concludes by the end of 2019. Phase II, which will focus on the
remaining FMVSSs and associated test procedures, is expected to start
in 2019 and conclude in mid-2021. These efforts are anticipated to
inform NHTSA's decisions on updates to the FMVSSs.
    \16\ Contract No. DTNH2214D00328L/DTNH2217F00177, ``Assessment,
Evaluation, and Approaches to Modification of FMVSS that may Impact
Compliance of Innovative New Vehicle Designs Associated with
Automated Driving Systems.'' The task award document states ``[t]he
overall goal of this Task Order is to provide NHTSA findings and
results needed to make informed decisions regarding the modification
of FMVSS in relation to the certification and compliance
verification of innovative new vehicle designs precipitated by
automated driving systems.''
    In addition to these research efforts, NHTSA has also requested
input from stakeholders through a January 2018 RFC to identify
regulatory barriers in the FMVSS to the testing, compliance
certification, and compliance verification of ADS-DVs without
traditional manual controls.17 18 This ANPRM continues the
discussion on topics covered in the January 2018 RFC. NHTSA also
recently published an ANPRM requesting public input on a possible
future national pilot program for the safe on-road testing and
deployment of vehicles with high or full driving
automation.19 20
    \17\ See the table in Appendix A for explanations of these
    \18\ 83 FR 2607 (Jan. 18, 2018).
    \19\ 83 FR 50872 (Oct. 10, 2018).
    \20\ Deployment in this context refers to the manufacturing for
sale, selling, offering for sale, introducing or delivering for
introduction in interstate commerce, or importing of vehicles in the
    Finally, NHTSA has received and evaluated an interpretation request
and petition for exemption that helped inform this document. The first
was an interpretation request received from Google, to which the agency
responded on February 4, 2016.\21\ The response covered a variety of
Google's concerns relating to how it could certify a vehicle that does
not include manual controls, such as a steering wheel, accelerator
pedal, or brake pedal. The response also provided tables listing those
standards that NHTSA could interpret Google's ADS as the ``driver'' or
``operator,'' and a table listing those standards that NHTSA could
interpret the human occupant seated in the left front designated
seating position as the ``driver.'' \22\ The agency interpreted the
term ``driver'' as applying to the ADS. Even so, NHTSA's response
highlighted that interpreting the driver to be the ADS ``does not end
the inquiry or determine the result''--many of the interpretive
requests would require rulemaking and/or exemption for resolution.\23\
    \21\ Available at
    \22\ Id.
    \23\ Id.
    The second request that helped inform this document is a petition
for exemption from General Motors (GM), which the agency received on
January 11, 2018.\24\ In that petition, GM categorized what they
described as ``human-driver-based requirements'' into three categories:
(1) Features designed to interface with a human driver, such as manual
controls; (2) features designed to provide human drivers with
information, such a telltales and indicator lamps; and (3) features to
protect human occupants, such as air bags. GM's contention is that its
ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls require only the third
category of requirements. GM states that the ADS-DV provides the
controls and information to the ADS, and that doing so meets the safety
objectives of the FMVSS. Additionally, the GM petition states that
their vehicle applies the occupant protection required for the
[[Page 24437]]
right front seating position to the left front seating position.
    \24\ Information available at:
    Based on these efforts, NHTSA has determined that most of the
potential regulatory barriers to the certification of ADS-DVs without
traditional manual controls in the 100-series FMVSSs fall into three
categories: (1) The standard requires a manual control; (2) the
standard specifies how the agency will use manual controls in the
regulatory description of how it will test for compliance; or (3) the
definition or use of particular terms (e.g., ``driver'') become so
unclear that clarification is necessary before certification and
compliance verification testing is possible.
    To address these barriers, NHTSA considered stakeholder input and
conducted an internal analysis of the translations of the regulatory
text necessary to remove barriers, and has identified in the ANPRM a
number of regulatory approaches for how to amend the FMVSSs to
accommodate compliance verification of ADS-DVs without traditional
manual controls. Using two primary crash avoidance standards as
illustrative examples, this ANPRM provides a discussion of the first
two identified categories of potential regulatory barriers.
    Removal of barriers posed by references to traditional manual
controls in the standards or test procedures, however, does not resolve
all issues, as NHTSA itself must still be able to test these vehicles
to ensure their compliance. This ANPRM, therefore, provides several
alternative compliance verification test methods that commenters
briefly mentioned in their comments. NHTSA has made no judgment at this
time regarding which compliance verification test method would be best
for addressing the particular regulatory barriers, if any, and expects
that it may be possible that the feasibility, including meeting the
requirements of the Safety Act, of a particular compliance strategy
would depend on the context in which it is used. It is NHTSA's hope
that the feedback received in response to this ANPRM will support this
and future rulemaking activities and clarify the compliance methods
that would best address any crash avoidance regulatory barriers that
may exist today.
IV. Stakeholder Feedback
    On January 18, 2018, the agency issued an RFC seeking public
comments to identify regulatory barriers in the existing FMVSS to the
testing, compliance certification, and compliance verification of motor
vehicles equipped with ADS and certain unconventional interior designs
(83 FR 2607). The agency received roughly 100 comment submissions to
the RFC.\25\ Comments were received from a diverse group of
stakeholders including safety advocates; trade associations; individual
vehicle manufacturers; automotive suppliers; state and local government
agencies; international standards organizations working groups;
insurance/legal; research institutions; policy centers; consultants;
workers'/union representatives; and individuals. In addition, to
support the RFC, NHTSA held a public meeting on March 6, 2018 (83 FR
6148) in Washington, DC, at which VTTI presented an overview of their
NHTSA-funded project focused on the development of options for
potential FMVSSs and compliance test procedure revisions.
    \25\ Docket No. NHTSA-2018-0009.
    Comments were requested in two main areas: (1) Barriers to testing,
certification, and compliance verification and (2) research needed to
address those barriers and NHTSA's role in conducting such research.
Topics discussed by commenters included, for example, suggestions for
regulatory strategies for ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls;
specific barriers; suggestions about the use of interpretations and
exemptions to remove regulatory barriers; importance of maintaining and
ensuring safety for all road users; activities being conducted by
industry standard organizations; potential impacts to the environment
and the workforce; considerations from local and state government
organizations; data acquisition, use and protection; research needs;
among others. Input received from these stakeholders, as it relates to
the focus of this ANPRM, is included and referenced throughout this
document. A brief summary of comments follows.
    Vehicle manufacturers and technology companies suggested that NHTSA
consider all regulatory tools in the near term, including
interpretations and exemptions, to address regulatory uncertainty
instead of relying on the notice and comment rulemaking process. While
NHTSA is utilizing these processes, where appropriate, the agency is
concurrently pursuing regulatory action to address issues that require
changes to the regulatory text.
    Some safety advocates stated that, before removing regulatory
barriers, new FMVSSs are needed for ADSs to avoid unintended safety
consequences. Vehicle manufacturers and technology companies also
generally stated that NHTSA should focus on conventional vehicles
equipped with ADSs first, and that barriers unaffected by the absence
or presence of traditional manual controls could be addressed later.
Further, there was some disagreement amongst commenters regarding which
FMVSSs should be retained, even for ADS-DVs without traditional manual
    The agency agrees that the existing FMVSSs neither have provisions
addressing the capabilities of ADSs nor prohibit ADS hardware or
software, but believes that unique aspects of ADSs warrant further
research to assess how to best structure any new regulation in a way
that appropriately addresses safety issues. Accordingly, the agency's
focus in this document is on the narrower question of how to amend the
FMVSS to safely permit ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls . .
. The agency, therefore, discusses an approach to address challenges
for crash avoidance standards, with an emphasis on what the agency
could do to clarify how it will conduct compliance verification testing
for the two previously identified categories of barriers.
    The agency also received comments on other topics such as data,
cybersecurity, and impact of ADS-DVs without traditional manual
controls on traffic congestion, transit, land use, the environment,
jobs, and training. Although, not the focus of this document, the
agency has reviewed and appreciates stakeholders' perspectives on these
topics. Other NHTSA and DOT activities, including the Pilot Program for
Collaborative Research on Motor Vehicles with High or Full Driving
Automation ANPRM, Study on the Impacts of Automated Vehicle
Technologies on the Workforce, and voluntary guidance documents, are
examining some of these issues and may inform future regulatory
V. Addressing Barriers in the FMVSS
    In the ANPRM, NHTSA furthers the discussion begun in the RFC by
seeking comment on potential strategies to safely address regulatory
barriers to the compliance verification of ADS-DVs without traditional
manual controls. Because the agency believes that safety should be the
primary focus of its efforts to address barriers to ADS-DVs, we ask
that commenters explain how the use of the different regulatory
approaches discussed in this document would affect vehicle safety.
    In this section, the agency describes and provides illustrative
examples of the two predominant categories of regulatory barriers to
[[Page 24438]]
certification that exist in the crash avoidance standards.
    The crash avoidance standards, located in the FMVSS 100-series, are
designed to reduce the likelihood of a crash occurring or, failing
that, reduce the severity of a crash by reducing the velocity of
vehicles involved in a crash. This is in contrast to the agency's
crashworthiness standards, located in the FMVSS 200-series, which are
designed to reduce the risk of injury to occupants in a crash. Thus,
the most prominent historical examples of crash avoidance standards
concern: Lighting, mirrors and other measures to enhance visibility;
braking requirements; and measures related to tires. More recently,
this category of standards includes the agency's requirements that rely
on advanced safety systems, including electronic stability control
(ESC), rear visibility systems, and sound alerts for pedestrians, as
these technologies, like more advanced ADS technologies, are designed
to decrease the likelihood of a crash.
    The agency has established that most of the barriers within the
crash avoidance standards fall into one of the following three types:
    1. The standard requires a manual control.
    2. The standard specifies how the agency will use manual controls
in the regulatory description of how it will test.
    3. The definition or use of terms (e.g., ``driver'') in the FMVSS
that assume human control of vehicles.
    The following sections discuss these first two types of barriers by
focusing on a prominent example of each barrier and how the agency
could address this type of barrier. The third type of barrier has
impacts on all of NHTSA's standards, and therefore will be addressed in
the agency's future documents.
A. Example #1 (FMVSS No. 135): Manual Control Required
    The first type of barrier to the compliance verification of an ADS-
DV without traditional manual controls is when a safety standard
directly requires a manual control be provided in the vehicle.
    FMVSS No. 135, ``Light vehicle brake systems,'' provides an
illustrative example of a standard that serves as a potential barrier
because it requires that vehicles be equipped a manual control and
requires that this manual control be used to test compliance.
Specifically, per FMVSS No. 135, S5.3, all light vehicles must be
equipped with service brakes that ``shall be activated by means of a
foot control.''
    Evaluation and discussion of this barrier is not new--NHTSA's
interpretation letter to Google stated that the agency would need to
commence rulemaking to consider an amendment to FMVSS No. 135.\26\ The
agency is carefully assessing the overall safety impacts of removing
any potential barriers in FMVSS No. 135.
    RFC Comments: A number of commenters to the RFC specifically
discussed the FMVSS No. 135 ``foot control'' requirement as a potential
barrier to the design of their ADS-DVs without traditional manual
controls. Overall, many of the industry commenters requested that NHTSA
remove the reference to a foot control. However, other commenters,
including some safety advocates, requested that NHTSA focus its efforts
on creating additional standards to regulate the ADS rather than
removing or modifying components of current standards. Some commenters
also requested that NHTSA examine any risks associated with permitting
the removal of brake system controls and advocated for a holistic
assessment of all risks each FMVSS mitigates.
    NHTSA's Preliminary Analysis: To consider how best to address a
regulatory barrier such as that imposed by the FMVSS No. 135 ``foot
control'' requirement, NHTSA believes it is important to first consider
the safety purpose of the standard. For example, the stated purpose of
FMVSS No. 135 is to ``ensure safe braking performance under normal and
emergency driving conditions.'' \27\ A foot-controlled brake serves
several interests. First, it ensures that a driver can decelerate the
vehicle while maintaining maximum control over the steering input.
Second, it ensures that a driver will always know that brakes are
actuated by foot controls. Third, absent power brake technology, a
driver can apply more force with a foot pedal than by using a hand-
operated control. Some of these interests are less relevant today than
in the past. For example, power brake technology can substantially
reduce the force required to actuate the service brakes and is found in
the vast majority of new vehicles produced today.
    \27\ 49 CFR 571.135.
    In considering whether to remove a requirement for a manual control
such as a foot-actuated service brake control, it is critical to
consider broader impacts on safety. Specifically, in order to assess
the overall impact of removing the requirement that service brakes be
operated by foot control, NHTSA must consider the reasoned expectation
that a human driver will reliably use the service brakes to avoid
    Thus, NHTSA is considering four possible approaches to address
requirements for manual controls such as the foot-actuated brake pedal
requirement in FMVSS No. 135. As these are general approaches to this
issue, they are not intended to address specific standards, which may
have underlying statutory mandates that could limit the agency's
     First, if the required control is necessary for motor
vehicle safety on all vehicles, NHTSA would retain the requirement for
all vehicles, even if that requires potentially redundant technologies
for certain ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls.
     Second, if the required control is no longer necessary for
motor vehicle safety for any vehicle, NHTSA could remove or otherwise
modify the requirement, if permitted to by law.
     Third, if the required control is still necessary for
motor vehicle safety for traditional vehicles, but not necessary for
the safety of ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls, NHTSA could
retain the requirement only for traditional vehicles and, if permitted
by law, exclude ADS-DVs without manual controls.
     Fourth, if the required control is necessary for motor
vehicle safety, but a different control (i.e., a non-human-actuated
control) would be necessary for an ADS-DV to perform the same function,
NHTSA may retain the existing requirement for traditional vehicles, but
have a separate, different control or equipment requirement for ADS-DVs
without traditional manual controls.
B. Example #2 (FMVSS No. 126): Existing Test Procedures That Cannot Be
Executed Absent Traditional Manual Controls
    The second type of barrier is when the test procedure for a
standard specifies how the agency will use manual controls in the
regulatory description of how it will test vehicles' compliance with
the performance requirements of an FMVSS, even though the standard
itself does not require a manual control. Typically, NHTSA's safety
standards outline performance requirements that must be met under
certain test procedures and NHTSA will conduct compliance verification
tests in accordance with these procedures. Some descriptions of how
NHTSA will conduct a FMVSS compliance verification test reference
controls that
[[Page 24439]]
are not present on ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls, or not
provided in the same capacity as a vehicle with manual controls.
    An example of this type of barrier is in FMVSS No. 126; Electronic
Stability Control (ESC) Systems for Light Vehicles. The purpose of
FMVSS No. 126 is to reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries that
result from crashes in which the driver loses directional control of
the vehicle, including those resulting in vehicle rollover, by
requiring that vehicles be installed with an ESC system that meets the
performance requirements established in the standard.\28\ The FMVSS,
therefore, is about the performance of the ESC system, not any
traditional manual control. However, the compliance test included in
the regulation states that ``a steering machine programmed to execute
the required steering pattern must be used.'' \29\ This paragraph says
that the agency will use a steering machine, which mounts to the
vehicle steering wheel and, through computer programming, is used to
apply steering inputs at specific magnitudes, rates, and timing, when
conducting the tests within the ESC standard. This requirement is based
on the assumption at the time of the standard's promulgation that all
vehicles subject to FMVSS No. 126 would have steering wheels. However,
for an ADS-DV without a traditional steering wheel, the manufacturer of
the vehicle is left without the necessary information as to how the
agency will conduct a compliance verification test, and therefore,
lacks the regulatory certainty it would normally have when conducting
its certification testing for a traditional vehicle. Further, NHTSA
would also not be able to conduct its own compliance test. Thus, in
this scenario, it is impossible to determine whether the ESC is
adequately functioning.
    \28\ 49 CFR 571.126.
    \29\ 49 CFR 571.126, S6.3.5.
    RFC Comments: Several commenters provided feedback on possible
alternate test methods to verify compliance with FMVSS No. 126. Many of
these comments concerned how compliance could be verified once the
agency has determined how to modify the test procedure to remove the
reference to the traditional manual control. These issues are addressed
in the following section. With regard to how the procedures themselves
could be modified, some commenters suggested that the agency focus on
identifying alternate performance criteria to address the safety intent
of the standard using different metrics (i.e., lateral displacement,
peak yaw rate, and instant yaw rate). Specific to the ESC test, one
commenter suggested an alternate metric to steering wheel angle
suggested by commenters was the angle of the front wheels relative to
the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. Other commenters suggest that,
instead of making substantial changes to existing standards, NHTSA
should consider issuing a separate set of standards specifically for
    NHTSA's Preliminary Analysis: Considering the FMVSS No. 126 example
above, the purpose of this standard is to ``reduce the number of deaths
and injuries that result from crashes in which the driver loses
directional control of the vehicle, including those resulting in
vehicle rollover.'' That is, the agency did not promulgate the rule for
the purpose of requiring a steering wheel or regulating the performance
of the steering wheel, but used the equipment it reasonably anticipated
at the time would be included in any of the vehicles for which ESC
would be required. The agency tentatively believes that other standards
that present similar types of barriers were also intended to address
the performance of some other part of the vehicle, rather than the
manual control. Therefore, the agency could modify the test procedure
in such a way that removes or modifies the reference to the control
without affecting the performance of the regulated aspect of the
    There are numerous ways that this could be done. For example, if an
ADS-DV lacks traditional manual controls but continues to have some way
to control the vehicle (e.g., through a wireless application), the
agency could revise the test procedure to reference alternative types
of controls. Alternatively, it may be that these vehicles will also
continue to have equipment that the agency can use to test the
performance of a regulated component. For example, although vehicles
without traditional manual controls will not have a steering wheel,
they will have a steering system that controls the directional motion
of the vehicle based on inputted path or destination information.\30\
NHTSA may be able to identify a different point within the steering
system at which the magnitude of a turn can be measured. If such a
point can be identified and a means of commanding the translated input
to the vehicle can be developed, NHTSA could conduct the ESC compliance
test in the same manner as it is done on vehicles with steering wheels.
NHTSA requests comment on this analysis and possible approaches for
addressing test procedures that presume the presence of manual
controls, such as the steering wheel angle portion of FMVSS No. 126.
Another approach may be to identify and evaluate other relevant
performance metrics. For example, replacing the steering wheel angle
requirements with a wheel angle requirement. Further, the agency could
more dramatically revise the standard to address the performance of the
regulated feature or component by considering the safety intent of the
standard. For example, for ESC, the safety intent is to reduce deaths
and injuries from crashes in which the driver loses directional control
of the vehicle. If NHTSA took this type of broad view, it could
potentially replace the sine-with-dwell maneuver with some type of road
course that would assess the ADS-DV's ability to steer to avoid
obstacles, potentially including a variant of the sine-with-dwell
maneuver, thereby testing the associated lateral accelerations, yaw
rates, etc. However, to develop an objective, repeatable road course to
replace the sine-with-dwell maneuver and adequately evaluate a
vehicle's ESC system would require considerable research, so other
nearer-term solutions would still need to be considered.
    \30\ Separately, FMVSS No. 203; ``Impact protections for the
driver from the steering control system'' defines a steering control
system as ``the basic steering mechanism and its associated trim
hardware, including any portion of a steering column assembly that
provides energy absorption upon impact. SAE documents refer to
``lower steering system'', the ``upper steering system'', ``power
assist systems,'' and ``advanced steering systems.'' The lower
steering system includes, but is not limited to, the wheel end,
suspension geometry, linkages, and steering gear. The upper steering
system includes, but is not limited to, the steering column and
intermediate shaft. The power assist system includes, but is not
limited to, any hydraulic, electro-hydraulic, and electric power
steering functionalities. Finally, the advanced steering systems
include, but are not limited to, rear wheel steer, active front
steer, active park assist, and other driver assistance systems. See
SAE C0716 ``Fundamentals of Steering Systems,'' available at
    The agency seeks comment on the feasibility of these and other
approaches, including explanation of how any potential changes to the
regulatory text will affect vehicle safety.\31\
    \31\ The agency understands that FMVSS No. 136, Electronic
Stability Control for Heavy Vehicles, presents similar issues as
those discussed for FMVSS No. 126.
C. Additional Barrier Examples
    The above two examples demonstrate different types of barriers that
exist for manufacturers interested in certifying ADS-DVs that lack
traditional manual
[[Page 24440]]
controls to existing requirements in the FMVSSs. These barriers are not
mutually exclusive, as a particular standard could include both types
of barriers.
    The agency has tentatively identified the types of barriers in the
following provisions: In FMVSS No. 108, hazard warning signal flashers
and operating units, beam switching devices, and turn signal operating
units; in FMVSS No. 114, depressing the brake pedal and references to
the parking brake; in FMVSS No. 138, driving the vehicle on the Uniform
Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) public roadways as part of the compliance
test procedure; as well as similar provisions in the standards that
apply specifically for heavy vehicles, including FMVSS No. 105, 121,
and 136. See the table below categorizing each of these additional
examples by the type of barrier it represents.
                                                       Barrier type 2--
                                  Barrier type 1--    specifies the use
                                 requires a manual    of manual controls
                                      control          in  a compliance
                                                        test procedure
FMVSS No. 108:
    Hazard warning signal                        X                    X
     flasher or operating unit
    Beam switching device.....                   X                    X
    Turn signal operating unit                   X                    X
FMVSS No. 114:
    Reference to parking brake  ...................                   X
    Depressing the brake pedal                   X   ...................
FMVSS No. 138:
    Driving the vehicle on the  ...................                   X
     UTQG public roadways as
     part of the compliance
     test procedure...........
FMVSS No. 105:
    Reference to a specific                      X   ...................
     device that reduces
     operator effort and
     mentions muscular force
     in the definition of
     brake power assist.......
    Manual control to be used   ...................                   X
     during testing of the
     hydraulic and electric
     brake systems............
FMVSS No. 121:
Mention a ``service brake                        X                    X
Mentions ``actuation of the                      X                    X
 parking brake control''......
Parking brake control--trucks                    X                    X
 and buses. The parking brake
 control shall be separate
 from the service brake
 control. It shall be operable
 by a person seated in the
 normal driving position. The
 control shall be identified
 in a manner that specifies
 the method of control
 operation. The parking brake
 control shall control the
 parking brakes of the vehicle
 and of any air braked vehicle
 that it is designed to tow...
FMVSS No. 136:................
Transmission and Brake          ...................                   X
 Controls. The transmission
 selector control is in a
 forward gear during all
 maneuvers. A vehicle equipped
 with an engine braking system
 that is engaged and
 disengaged by the driver is
 tested with the system
    The agency has a series of questions relating to the examples
listed above in this section and to the next section. Thus, the
questions will be listed after the following section.
VI. Possible Approaches To Revising Crash Avoidance Test Procedures
    The above discussion concerns how the agency could remove
references to traditional manual controls in both the standards and
test procedures. However, that begs the question: once vehicles no long
have traditional manual controls, how will NHTSA be able to test them
to ensure that they meet the revised standards? Without traditional
controls, NHTSA will have to confront such varied issues as: how to get
a vehicle it purchases for compliance testing from the test facility;
how it will direct the vehicle to perform the required test procedure;
how it will deal with a vehicle whose ODD does not include a test
facility; and so on.
    Below are several general approaches NHTSA could consider in
developing a document proposing to amend the existing 100-series FMVSS
requirements and test procedures for ADS-DVs without manual controls in
a way that allows NHTSA to conducts testing for vehicles that are not
required to have traditional manual controls. NHTSA developed these
approaches in response to certain comments \32\ received in response to
the January 2018 RFC, as well as NHTSA's own internal analysis. NHTSA's
goal is to ensure that the testing methods it specifies for its use in
testing ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls are practicable and
objective, and otherwise meet the requirements of the Safety Act.
    \32\ The agency's discussions of those approaches do not include
a summary of what the commenters said about the approaches. This is
because the commenters simply identified them; they did not describe
them or explore of their possible advantages/disadvantages. Where
possible, the agency does provide a citation to an example of the
comments that mention one or more of those approaches.
    The agency requests comment on the following approaches: (1) Normal
ADS-DV operation; (2) Test Mode with Pre-Programmed Execution (TMPE);
(3) Test Mode with External Control (TMEC); (4) Simulation; (5)
Technical Documentation for System Design and/or Performance Approach;
and (6) Use of Surrogate Vehicle with Human Controls. The agency also
requests comment on whether any additional alternatives are possible.
In addition to answers to the questions that appear after the
discussion of each approach, NHTSA requests that commenters answer
these questions for each of the approaches:
    1. What are the possible advantages and disadvantages of each
    2. Discuss whether each approach fits the requirements and criteria
of the Safety Act and enables effective enforcement of the FMVSSs.
Explain the basis for your answers.
    3. Can more than one of these approaches be specified by the agency
as alternative ways for the agency to determine compliance with the
same requirement in the same FMVSS? If so, please describe how this
could be done consistent with the Vehicle Safety Act, using one or more
specific FMVSS requirements as illustrative examples. If more than one
approach could be specified for the same requirement in the same FMVSS,
do commenters believe that the agency, in assessing
[[Page 24441]]
compliance with the same requirement in the same FMVSS, choose one
approach for one vehicle model, but another approach for a different
model? If so, explain why.
    4. If only one of these approaches can be used to enforce a
particular FMVSS requirement, what factors should be considered in
selecting that approach? What policy or other considerations should
guide the agency in choosing one alternative approach versus another
for determining the compliance of a particular vehicle or item of
    5. With respect to any single approach or combination of
approaches, could it be ensured that the compliance of all makes and
models across the industry is measured by the same yard stick, i.e.,
that all vehicles are held to the same standard of performance, in
meeting the same FMVSS requirement?
    6. What other potential revisions or additions to terms, in
addition to `driver', are necessary for crash avoidance standards that
NHTSA should consider defining or modifying to better communicate how
the agency intends to conduct compliance verification of ADS vehicle.
    7. Should NHTSA consider an approach to establish new definitions
that apply only to ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls?
    8. For compliance testing methods involving adjusting current test
procedures to allow alternative methods of controlling the test vehicle
during the test (normal ADS-DV function, TMPE, TMEC), or to allow the
use of a surrogate vehicle:
    a. How could NHTSA ensure that the test vehicle's performance using
the compliance method is an accurate proxy for the ADS-DV's performance
during normal operation?
    b. If NHTSA were to incorporate the test method into its test
procedures, would NHTSA need to adjust the performance requirements for
each standard (in addition to the test procedures) to adequately
maintain the focus on safety for an ADS-DV?
    9. For compliance testing methods that replace physical tests with
non-physical requirements (simulation, documentation):
    a. If the test method is used to determine compliance with a real-
world test, how can NHTSA validate the accuracy of a simulation or
    b. If NHTSA must run real-world tests to validate a simulation or
documentation, what is the advantage of non-physical requirements over
these other compliance methods?
    10. Would non-physical requirements simply replicate the existing
physical tests in a virtual world? If not, what would be the nature of
the non-physical requirements (that is, what performance metrics would
these requirements use, and how would NHTSA measure them)? Are there
ways that NHTSA could amend the FMVSSs to remove barriers to ADS-DVs
that would not require using the compliance test methods described in
    a. Are there any barriers in the FMVSS or NHTSA's test procedures
that could be addressed by altering or removing references to manual
controls in the test procedures without substantively changing the
FMVSS performance requirement?
    b. Are there any changes that NHTSA could make to the FMVSS test
procedures that could incorporate basic ADS capabilities to demonstrate
performance, such as using an ADS-DV's capability to recognize and obey
a stop sign to test service brake performance?
    11. What research or data exists to show that the compliance test
method would adequately maintain the focus on ADS-DV safety? What
modifications of the safety standards would be necessary to enable the
use of the test method?
A. Normal ADS-DV Operation
    One possible approach for vehicle manufacturers to use for self-
certification, and the agency to use for compliance verification, is
the ``Normal ADS-DV Operation'' approach. This approach involves
operating the ADS-DV without traditional manual controls ``as-is'' with
no extra programming and/or installation of any kind of manual controls
for test maneuver execution. The ADS would be in control of the vehicle
during compliance testing with all of its operational restrictions and
decision-making capabilities in place. In its most basic form,
compliance verification using Normal ADS-DV Operation would require the
engineer performing the compliance test to input an appropriate
destination using the same input method indicated by the ADS-DV's
manufacturer for real-world operation. Vehicle performance would be
observed and assessed during the period of normal on-road vehicle
    The Normal ADS-DV Operation approach may provide the most
``realistic'' representation of how the vehicle would perform during
normal use. This approach could allow NHTSA to continue acquiring
vehicles in the same way that U.S. consumers do, from commercial
dealerships, and testing actual vehicles to verify they meet the FMVSS
requirements.\33\ NHTSA is interested in maintaining its policy to buy
and test new production vehicles from dealership lots, to the extent
possible. NHTSA believes that there are several test requirements in
the FMVSSs for which Normal ADS-DV Operation may be a feasible
compliance option if certain assumptions are correct. For example, the
FMVSS No. 138 procedure for testing a vehicle's tire pressure
monitoring system requires that the test vehicle is driven on a
specific public roadway for a specified distance at the posted roadway
speeds. During the test, the vehicle is stopped along the way to reduce
tire inflation pressure and then driven again until a low inflation
pressure indication is obtained. This test procedure could be modified
to permit use of the Normal ADS-DV Operation approach for ADS-DVs by
allowing the driving portion of the test to be performed by the ADS,
which would be commanded by the test engineer using the ADS-DV's normal
input method to select a destination.
    \33\ This statement assumes that ADS-DVs will be sold or leased
to individual owners, similarly to how traditional vehicles are
sold. This assumption may be incorrect if the majority of ADS-DVs
are used as rideshare vehicles.
    The primary drawback to the Normal ADS-DV Operation approach for
ADS-DVs that lack manual controls is that its application is limited to
test procedure requirements capable of being performed within the
Operational Design Domain (ODD) \34\ of the ADS. As such, tests
involving vehicle maneuvers or operation at speeds, locations, or other
operating conditions not experienced within the vehicle's ODD could not
be performed using this method. For example, a vehicle whose ODD does
not include the specified test track for the above TPMS test, whether
for geographic or road-type restrictions, could not use this approach
to conduct the test. Another drawback of this approach, which several
of the alternatives below attempt to correct, is that, even if a
vehicle's ODD could allow it to perform a test, the vehicle may not be
equipped with the controls necessary to allow NHTSA to actually conduct
the test.
    \34\ The ODD is the operating conditions under which a given
driving automation system or feature thereof is specifically
designed to function, including, but not limited to, environmental,
geographical, and time-of-day restrictions, and/or the requisite
presence or absence of certain traffic or roadway characteristics.
SAE J3016_201806 Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to
Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles.
    For NHTSA to evaluate the feasibility of the Normal ADS-DV
Operation approach for compliance verification,
[[Page 24442]]
the agency would need more information about the extent to which an
ADS-DV can be controlled under normal operation. In addition, it is
possible that normal control could be used on some vehicles but not on
others, since manufacturers may implement different methods for vehicle
operators to communicate with and command the vehicle to accomplish on-
road driving. To the extent that some but not all ADS-DVs could be
designed to allow for this type of testing, at least for certain
standards, it may be challenging for NHTSA to design appropriately
objective standards to cover all ADS-DVs. To address these issues,
NHTSA believes it is essential to better understand how operators will
interface with and operate these ADS-DVs without traditional manual
controls under normal conditions.
    To better understand the ``Normal ADS-DV Operation'' approach and
its possible applications, the agency asks the following questions.
Questions Specific to This Testing Method (General Questions Precede
This Section)
    12. What design concepts are vehicle manufacturers considering
relating to how an ADS-DV passenger/operator will interface with, or
command (e.g., via verbal or manual input), the ADS to accomplish any
driving task within its ODD? Please explain each design concept and
exactly how each would be commanded to execute on-road trips.
    13. Are there specific challenges that will be encountered with
this kind of approach for vehicle compliance verification? Please be
specific and explain each challenge.
    14. Will all ADS-DVs without traditional manual controls be capable
of receiving and acting upon simple commands not consisting of a street
address based destination, such as ``drive forward or backwards a
distance of 10 feet and stop''; ``shift from park to drive and
accelerate to 25 mph''; ``drive up onto a car hauler truck trailer'';
etc.? Please explain projected challenges for ADS-DVs without
traditional manual controls to complete discrete driving commands and
    15. How would NHTSA ensure that the performance of the ADS-DV
during testing is consistent with how the vehicle would perform during
actual normal use?
B. Test Mode With Pre-Programmed Execution (TMPE)
    A TMPE is an approach to compliance testing in which the
manufacturer programs into the ADS-DV a test mode that gives the test
engineer access to a pre-programmed ``compliance test library'' from
which pre-programmed testing scenarios can be selected and executed.
The testing programs in the compliance library would be used to
automatically perform the driving actions necessary for each applicable
FMVSS compliance test. Pre-programmed execution is conceptually similar
to that achieved via use of an external controller, discussed in detail
below, in that it involves specific commands being sent to the ADS for
purposes of executing compliance test procedures, with the key
difference being the source of the commands. TMPE-based tests would be
performed by using a manufacturer-installed suite of compliance testing
programs; no external controller interface with the ADS-DV would be
required to perform specified FMVSS compliance tests. A means of
maneuvering the vehicle for purposes other than compliance tests may be
necessary to load it onto or off of a transport vehicle and to move it
in areas not part of its ODD, such as between a garage and test course
at a compliance test facility.
    While GM and ZF Group (ZF) briefly suggested that concepts similar
to TMPE may be a viable approach, Mercedes and the Alliance of
Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), who discussed TMPE in greater
detail, raised a number of potential problems that NHTSA believes may
need to be addressed for it to be a viable method for compliance
testing. Both Mercedes and the Alliance noted that pre-programmed
execution may not be possible for test procedures that require driving
maneuvers that are outside of an ADS's ODD. For example, an ADS-DV that
is designed to be operated by the ADS only at lower speeds, but that
does not qualify as a low-speed vehicle as defined by 571.3 (allowing
it to be subject to the limited performance requirements of FMVSS No.
500), may lack the functionality to perform higher-speed maneuvers
required for demonstrating compliance with certain standards (e.g.,
FMVSS Nos. 126; Electronic stability control systems and 135; Light
vehicle brake systems). In addition, both Mercedes and the Alliance
also raised the concern that the TMPE's test mode present a
vulnerability for cybersecurity-related issues, and that issues such as
providing mapping data for the specific proving grounds or other
facilities at which test procedure is executed would need to be
    TMPE may be useful for assessing FMVSS compliance with test track-
based performance requirements because it enables a test engineer to
directly instruct an ADS-DV to execute the driving maneuvers necessary
to perform the FMVSS test procedures. Since the ADS-DV would be
programmed with the compliance library by the manufacturer at the time
of production, compatibility of the commands within the library and
vehicle being evaluated should be ensured (i.e., translation of the
commands defined within the FMVSS test procedures to a format
understood by the ADS is not required).
    TMPE also has the potential for streamlining the testing process.
Rather than performing tests intended to characterize the ADS-DV
without traditional manual controls (i.e., the brake application needed
to activate ABS during an FMVSS No. 135 evaluation, or the steering
input needed to achieve 0.3g during an FMVSS No. 126 assessment), the
ADS-DV would be pre-programmed with testing information that presumably
would precisely execute the FMVSS test procedures. In addition, NHTSA
could validate (i.e., confirm that the characterization tests that
provide the data needed to define the input parameters used to perform
tests used in standards like FMVSS No. 126 and 135 have been correctly
performed and have output the expected values) these pre-programmed
configurations relatively easily by equipping the ADS-DV with
conventional instrumentation during conduct of the FMVSS assessments in
a manner consistent with that presently in use. NHTSA also imagines
TMPE could be implemented at a relatively low cost, because
manufacturers could simply program the vehicles' TMPE compliance
library with the same compliance test programs the manufacturer uses
for its own development testing.
    Notwithstanding these potential benefits, additional information
regarding the way in which a pre-programmed FMVSS compliance test
library may be implemented is needed to allow NHTSA to better
understand the viability of the concept. For example, how would the
test engineer responsible for performing the tests access the
compliance library so they may select a specific test to perform? This
could conceivably be via a ``test menu'' presented on an original
equipment visual display within the ADS-DV. However, an OEM may not
want to provide an obvious or visual means of accessing a pre-
[[Page 24443]]
compliance test library to minimize the opportunity for individuals not
performing compliance testing to access the test library. If access to
a test menu is not provided, some means of communicating with the
vehicle to select and initiate specific tests will be necessary, such
as through the use of an external controller. However, NHTSA
understands that granting access to the ADS-DV by means of any external
controller represents a potential security risk, and would therefore
like to better understand the way(s) a test engineer may be expected to
securely access the compliance library and test menu required for
performing FMVSS evaluations.
    NHTSA also seeks to better understand transportation concerns with
moving the vehicle to the desired test location and testing the vehicle
at that location. The test areas used for FMVSS certification on test
tracks and proving grounds can be very different than public roads and
potentially outside the ODD of the test vehicle. Even if the ADS-DV is
transported (i.e., not driven) to, and unloaded at, a designated test
area, test instrumentation (and potentially the vehicle itself)
typically requires a sequence of short driving maneuvers be performed
to initialize vehicle- and instrumentation-based sensors, and for the
vehicle to be positioned at a staging point that may not necessarily be
the same day-to-day or even trial-to-trial. Should the vehicle need to
return to the staging point after completion of a trial, it is expected
that the return path will need to be made in accordance with test
facility operating guidelines to safely avoid other traffic, and obey
any direction of travel and facility use restrictions, etc. The return
path may not necessarily be the most direct one.
    For the sake of maximizing test safety, it may be desirable to
terminate a test performed with an ADS-DV if it is not being performed
correctly, if the vehicle experiences a malfunction, or other traffic
unexpectedly appears, etc. In some cases, it may be necessary to
quickly brake the vehicle to a stop. One means of doing so could be
through use of an emergency stop (E-stop) option within the test menu.
To maximize the effectiveness of the E-stop, the mechanism would need
to be quickly and easily accessible by the test engineer responsible
for performing and/or observing test conduct. NHTSA is interested in
better understanding the feasibility of incorporating an E-stop
function into the ADS-DV for use during compliance testing, and what
potential security risks doing so may introduce.
    While attempting to perform advanced driver assistance system
(ADAS) and/or Level 2 automation system tests within the confines of a
test track, NHTSA has observed that certain features of some test
vehicles are not available due to the location where the tests occurred
(e.g., GM's Super Cruise cannot be enabled within the confines of most
test tracks since the roads at these facilities do not reside within
the system's ODD). For this reason, NHTSA is interested in better
understanding the feasibility of having vehicle manufacturers remove
any geofence-based operating restrictions while the ADS-DV is being
operated in a ``test mode'' intended to assess FMVSS compliance.
    One disadvantage of using an FMVSS compliance library with pre-
programmed tests not modifiable by the test engineer, is that test
input characteristics would presumably be fixed and not able to be
adjusted to be suitable for a particular test surface. Therefore,
variation in test results across test locations in different geographic
areas may be worse, since pre-programmed test inputs would be based on
characterization tests (or even simulations) performed using a
different test surface, etc. Better understanding the likelihood of
this variability being great enough to affect maneuver severity is of
interest to the agency. Also of interest is understanding what test
tolerances an ADS-DV operating with commands from a compliance library
may be expected to achieve. For example, FMVSS No. 126 requires a test
maneuver entrance speed of 50  1 mph (80  2 km/
Questions Specific to This Testing Method (General Questions Precede
This Section)
    16. How could engineers responsible for performing FMVSS compliance
assessments of an ADS-DV without manual controls be expected to access
and interface with the compliance test library menu?
    17. Would the FMVSS need to specify the libraries available to
NHTSA to test the vehicle?
    18. Is it practical to expect that an ADS-DV without any
traditional manually-operated controls can be safely and efficiently
operated within the confines of a test track with only a pre-programmed
test menu (i.e., without some form of external controller or other
means of vehicle control input)?
    19. Can an ADS-DV be expected to perform within tight tolerance
levels using the regular on-board sensors?
    20. How much variation in test results across various test
locations (i.e., proving grounds) is expected to result from testing an
ADS-DV equipped with the same FMVSS compliance library at different
locations? Could the ability to satisfy FMVSS performance requirements
depend on the location the tests are performed?
    21. Is it reasonable to assume any geofence-based operating
restrictions could be suspended while the ADS-DV is operating in a
``test mode'' intended to assess FMVSS compliance?
    22. How could vehicle-based electronically accessible libraries for
conducting FMVSS testing be developed in a way that would allow NHTSA
to access the system for compliance testing but not allow unauthorized
access that could present a security or safety risk to an ADS-DV?
    23. Are there other considerations NHTSA should be aware of when
contemplating the viability of programmed execution-based vehicle
compliance verification?
    24. When changes or updates are made to the ADS, how will the TMPE
content be updated to reflect the changes and how often would it be
C. Test Mode With External Control (TMEC)
    The TMEC approach suggested by the commenters could largely
maintain existing 100-series FMVSS test procedures, but allow for test
procedure steps that require an action by a human driver (e.g.,
instructions relating to the accelerator or brake pedals) to be
accomplished using an external controller that is not controlled by the
ADS, but by a test engineer. This option is closely related to the pre-
programmed execution option also discussed in this ANPRM; however,
rather than requiring the tests defined in FMVSS procedures be pre-
programmed within the vehicle, the commands used to perform the FMVSS
test procedures (including, but not limited to, those associated with
the steering wheel, accelerator pedal, brake pedal, and transmission
shifter) would be sent to the ADS-DV via an external controller
operated by a test engineer. Under this approach, the external
controller sending the commands used to perform the FMVSS test
procedures may be located inside or outside the vehicle and could be
connected to the vehicle either wirelessly or through a physical
connection, but would not be part of the vehicle itself. Instead, it
would be a device either designed and provided to NHTSA by the
manufacturer or, alternatively, a standard device designed by NHTSA.
[[Page 24444]]
    The external control approach was discussed by commenters GM and
ZF, who both suggested that FMVSS compliance could be demonstrated by a
human remotely piloting the vehicle. GM suggested that NHTSA could
collaborate with industry to explore using external control devices and
facilities that interact with the vehicle. ZF commented that ADS-DVs
without traditional manual controls ``will have alternate methods of
inputting driving commands for normal situations (e.g., to input an
initial destination or route), and also for emergency situations (e.g.,
rerouting to a new destination, an emergency stop button for
occupants), in order to provide its desired functionality and level of
    Like a test mode with programmed execution, a test mode with
external control would preserve an ability to assess FMVSS compliance
with test track-based performance requirements because it enables a
test engineer to directly instruct an ADS-DV to execute the driving
maneuvers necessary to perform the FMVSS test procedures. NHTSA
recognizes that some vehicle manufacturers may choose to include
provisions to accept external controller functionality in their ADS-DVs
so that the vehicle is able to navigate with areas outside of the ADS's
ODD, such as during maintenance or on dealer lots.
    NHTSA assumes that an external controller for compliance test
purposes could provide test engineers with control over all vehicle
functions that are relevant to compliance verification and would
provide a test engineer with a straight-forward way of selecting the
desired tests and input parameters associated with the test being
performed. However, there may be other advantages of an external
controller. For example, external control capabilities that support
manual operation (e.g., vehicle speed, steering or braking magnitude,
transmission gear) could be used to safely facilitate transportation of
the ADS-DV without manual controls between garages and to test pads or
courses at compliance test facilities. During the conduct of compliance
testing, an external controller could be used to command maneuvers used
to initialize the test vehicle and/or test equipment, facilitate pre-
test staging, and could be configured to provide the test engineer with
an E-stop function.
Questions Specific to This Testing Method (General Questions Precede
This Section)
    25. Is it reasonable to assume a common (universal) interface,
translator, and/or communication protocol between an external
controller and any ADS-DV will be developed?
    26. What is the most viable method for securely interfacing an
external controller with the ADS-DV (e.g., wireless or physical
    27. Could a means of manual control be developed that would allow
NHTSA to access the system for compliance testing but not allow
unauthorized access that could present a security or safety risk to an
    28. Is it reasonable to assume any geofence-based operating
restrictions could be suspended while an external controller intended
to assess FMVSS compliance is connected to the ADS-DV?
    29. Are there other considerations NHTSA should be aware of when
contemplating the viability of using an external controller-based
vehicle certification?
D. Simulation
    Simulation is an approach for compliance verification by which
NHTSA could verify that an ADS-DV complies with a FMVSS requirement
using software or hardware-in-the-loop \35\ based evaluations rather
than performing on-road or track-based tests with a complete physical
vehicle. Simulations may be useful for determining how a modeled
computer system will respond to a given set of inputs. The accuracy of
a simulation strongly depends on its fidelity to the actual performance
of the vehicle and validation of the models used to define it.
    \35\ Hardware-in-the-loop simulation is a type of simulation in
which the control loop components are comprised of some real
hardware parts and some simulated parts. R. Isermann, J. Schaffnit,
S. Sinsel, Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation for the Design and
Testing of Engine-Control Systems, Algorithms and Architectures for
Real-Time Control, Cancun, Mexico, 1998.
    Commenters to the RFC suggested that simulations could be
particularly useful for certifying compliance with a performance
standard like FMVSS No. 126, in which the purpose of the test is to
ensure that the vehicle interprets sensor inputs properly, and that the
vehicle translates those sensor inputs into outputs to the vehicle's
driving functions that meet performance requirements. Mercedes noted
that FMVSS No. 126 effectively already uses a simulation, since the
required steering mechanism ensures that the vehicle receives a
standardized set of steering inputs to limit variability. The Alliance
also noted simulation as a possible ``short-term'' method of
demonstrating FVMSS No. 126 compliance (as well as other FMVSS) and
suggested that NHTSA should collaborate with industry stakeholders to
develop a simulation ``tool,'' which NHTSA could validate as necessary.
    While some of the comments focused on a manufacturer's own ability
to use simulation in its certification testing, NHTSA is primarily
interested in learning more about how NHTSA could potentially use
simulation to verify compliance, and whether this method is sufficient
from a legal and technical perspective.
    Historically, NHTSA has not used a simulation approach for crash
avoidance FMVSS compliance verification because the most accurate,
economical, and feasible means of conducting tests has been to perform
them on a test track, thereby avoiding any questions of simulation
accuracy. Furthermore, the agency believes there could be additional
safety benefits of buying and testing actual production vehicles as
delivered to the consumer, which in the past has identified test
failures due to vehicle design changes and equipment malfunctions that
would not ordinarily have been found during vehicle simulations. For
simulations, it may not be possible to accurately model proprietary
control algorithms like those within an ADS electronic control unit
(ECU). Complex simulation models with many inputs (such as those that
would be necessary to demonstrate compliance with many of the FMVSS)
are expensive to develop and difficult to validate without performing
the actual test that is being simulated.
    However, the agency acknowledges that simulation may play a larger
role in future performance standards specific to ADS-DVs and other ADS-
equipped vehicles, because simulations could provide a practical and
cost-effective means for evaluating a wide array of test and real-world
operating conditions to which these vehicles will be exposed, and for
which physical testing to a sufficient degree may be infeasible.
    For a simulation to be considered for compliance verification,
there are a number of considerations that the agency believes must be
accounted for. The most difficult aspect of using simulation as a
compliance verification method is the validation of the models used.
This is because a simulation
[[Page 24445]]
suitable for an accurate and representative assessment of an ADS-
equipped vehicle, whether it be an ADS-DV without traditional manual
controls or one that could allow for manual control at times, would
likely need to model both the vehicle (including but not limited to its
chassis, drivetrain, suspension, brake system, tires, and ADS-relevant
sensors, and any potential discrepancy between a modeled version of the
vehicle and real-world production model) and the elements used to
define the road surface and other characteristics of the environment in
which the tests are performed. Accurate modelling by NHTSA would likely
require the agency to incorporate vehicle-specific parameters and
proprietary control algorithms, which may not be available for use by
NHTSA and, if not available, would require extensive testing at a
substantial cost for NHTSA to develop a model.
    As mentioned above, a key part of NHTSA's enforcement
responsibilities includes buying and testing actual production vehicles
to verify, ``as-sold'' to the public, that these vehicles meet the
FMVSS requirements. These actual ``on-track'' tests are important to
verify compliance but also to help identify a manufacturer's
certification shortcomings (e.g., suspension design changes that
inadvertently change the performance of the ESC system, or a part
replacement that inadvertently changes the performance of a brake
system) and possible safety-related defects problems that would not
necessarily be identified through simulation.
    For research purposes, NHTSA is considering the feasibility of
working with vehicle manufacturers to develop an application
programming interface (API) designed to allow a common set of operating
conditions (which could potentially include those associated with FMVSS
compliance tests), to interface with their (the vehicle manufacturer's)
ADS. Conceptually, the API would function as a translator; a means of
ensuring that simulated input conditions are properly interpreted by
the ADS so that it, and the vehicle it resides in, responds in the same
way it would in the real world.
Questions Specific to This Testing Method (General Questions Precede
This Section)
    30. How can simulations be used to assess FMVSS compliance?
    31. Are there objective, practicable ways for the agency to
validate simulation models to ensure their accuracy and repeatability?
    32. Is it feasible to perform hardware-in-the-loop simulations to
conduct FMVSS compliance verification testing for current FMVSS?
    33. Is it feasible to perform software-in-the-loop simulations to
conduct FMVSS compliance verification testing?
E. Technical Documentation for System Design and/or Performance
    For the Technical Documentation approach, vehicle-specific
technical design and/or build documentation (e.g., a system function
description and logic and/or schematic diagrams) could be provided to
allow NHTSA to permit an assessment of FMVSS compliance. It should be
noted that this is different than the technical design documentation
that is provided to NHTSA today. It is technical design documentation
used by the manufacturer in the design and construction of the vehicle.
    Several industry commenters discussed the approach of using
technical documentation for compliance verification of vehicles for
specified FMVSS requirements. The commenters noted that documentation
could be used to address two different kinds of requirements. The first
kind of requirements include those without performance specifications
(e.g., the ESC system must have the capability to apply brake torques
at each wheel and to determine yaw rate). The second kind of
requirements include those with system performance specifications
(e.g., during an ESC system sine-with dwell test the yaw rate must not
exceed 35% of the peak yaw rate 1 second after completion of the
steering input; or during service brake system tests, with the test
vehicle operating at 100km/h, the service brake system must be able to
stop the vehicle within a specified distance).
    For the first kind of requirements, those that do not include
performance specifications, the Alliance explained that, ``where there
are no specific performance requirements within a FMVSS, but there is a
desire to verify the general component and functional capability, NHTSA
has included provisions for technical documentation to demonstrate
FMVSS compliance in the appropriate standards.'' GM stated that,
``[t]echnical documentation is particularly useful for identifying
components and functions for which no discrete performance requirement
needs to be measured through testing.'' \36\ Both the Alliance and GM
mentioned FMVSS No. 126 as an example of a standard that NHTSA could
request technical documentation for certain functionality portions of
the standard.
    Considering ADS-DVs without manual controls, for the second kind of
requirements that do specify system performance requirements, GM stated
that, in reference to allowing flexibility to demonstrate performance
requirements specified in FMVSS No. 126 and FMVSS No. 135,
manufacturers could be required to provide technical documentation
explaining the methodology used and associated test results. GM stated
that ``the performance requirements currently specified in FMVSS Nos.
126 and 135 should be preserved for self-driving vehicles, with
`technical documentation' to report how the manufacturer certified to
those requirements.'' The Alliance stated that there are methods that
could be used as the basis for technical documentation (e.g.,
simulation, whole vehicle testing, hardware-in-the-loop testing, etc.)
and believes that research is required to adapt the FMVSS No. 126
``sine with dwell'' test procedure for ADS-DVs. The Alliance
recommended that NHTSA consider adopting a technical documentation
approach to the ``sine with dwell'' test requirements in the near-term.
Mercedes stated that manufacturers could demonstrate ADS-DV compliance
with ESC requirements via technical documentation, although in their
opinion this approach would be more burdensome both for manufactures
and for NHTSA.
    Technical documentation is currently permitted for use in
demonstrating compliance for a portion of one crash avoidance standard,
FMVSS No. 126. For this standard, the agency requires manufacturers to
make available upon request, documentation (i.e., a system diagram, a
written explanation of how the system works, and a logic diagram)
demonstrating that a vehicle is equipped with an ESC system that is
consistent with the definition described in the standard.\37\ During
the development of the rule, the agency was not able to finalize an
objective and repeatable performance test to evaluate understeer
conditions. For this reason, the agency resorted to developing the
compliance documentation requirements for describing the ESC system's
capability to address understeer conditions described in S 5.6. FMVSS
No. 126 S 5.6 states that the manufacturer must make available to
[[Page 24446]]
the agency upon request, documentation that includes a discussion on
the pertinent inputs to the ESC computer or calculations within the
computer and how the algorithm uses that information and controls ESC
system hardware to limit understeer. A system diagram, depicting all
the ESC system hardware is used as part of the compliance verification
of the ESC definition to identify the components used for brake torque
generation at each wheel and yaw rate monitoring. An additional written
explanation and the logic diagrams are also used, as part of the
compliance verification, to better describe how all the components work
together to address vehicle instabilities. While NHTSA has used
technical documentation for one portion of one standard, the agency did
so as a measure of last resort because technical documentation does not
confirm the level of performance for the physical vehicle.
    \37\ 49 CFR 571.126, S5.6.
    For the second kind of requirements (i.e., requirements that
include system performance specifications) the commenters discussed
using various kinds of performance or test data documentation for
compliance verification. In the regulatory language of many FMVSS,
NHTSA provides test procedures so vehicle manufacturers know how NHTSA
will test their vehicles and equipment. In addition to testing,
occasionally, and typically in the context of an enforcement
investigation into potential noncompliance with a FMVSS, NHTSA requests
a manufacturer submit documentation/data that illustrates its basis for
certification. Upon NHTSA's request, most manufacturers provide test
reports similar to the reports generated by NHTSA contracted test labs
(showing the results of the manufacturer's testing, just as NHTSA would
have reports exhibiting the results of its own testing). For many of
the crash avoidance FMVSSs, as their basis for compliance, vehicle
manufacturers conduct testing in a similar manner as NHTSA conducts
compliance verification, namely, using the same test procedures, test
equipment and data collecting process. If this process changes and
manufacturers solely provide NHTSA with the reports that include the
performance test results without NHTSA testing the vehicle, it is not
clear how the agency would properly verify compliance and ensure at
least the same level of performance has been achieved. Furthermore, it
has always been critical for the agency to establish objective,
repeatable, and reproducible test procedures for manufacturers and the
agency to both use ensuring the same test results regardless of who
executes the test, or when and where the test is executed.
    As mentioned above under the simulation discussion, the agency
believes it is important to buy and test new vehicles as produced and
sold. If documentation is used as a tool in the future, NHTSA would
continue to focus on real-world testing of actual vehicles being
operated on public roads. These actual ``on-track'' tests conducted by
the agency are important to verify compliance but also to help identify
a manufacturer's certification shortcomings (e.g., suspension design
changes that inadvertently change the performance of the ESC system, or
a part replacement that inadvertently changes the performance of a
brake system) and possible safety related defects; problems that would
not necessarily be identified through documentation.
Questions Specific to This Testing Method (General Questions Precede
This Section)
    34. How can the documentation-focused approach ensure compliance
with FMVSS, considering it neither verifies that the vehicles on the
road match the documentation nor confirms that the vehicles on the road
comply with the FMVSSs?
    35. If technical documentation were acceptable for compliance
verification, how would the manufacturer assure the agency that the
documentation accurately represents the ADS-DV and that the system is
    36. Exactly what kind of documentation could be submitted for each
kind of FMVSS requirement? Provide specific examples with detailed
explanation of the documentation required.
F. Use of Surrogate Vehicle With Human Controls
    Using the surrogate vehicle with human controls approach, the
vehicle manufacturer would demonstrate that all relevant aspects of the
surrogate vehicle are identical to those of the ADS-DV without
traditional manual controls and then complete compliance verification
using that surrogate vehicle and apply the results to the ADS-DV
without traditional manual controls.
    Several commenters suggested that a short-term solution for
compliance verification testing of ADS-DVs is to certify a manually-
operated ``sister'' (i.e., surrogate) vehicle that shares the same
platform, but differs from the ADS-DV because it has manual controls
included for testing purposes. The Alliance, for example, suggested
this as an approach to testing FMVSS No. 126. Ford agreed with this
    Attempting to specify in a FMVSS test procedure that NHTSA will use
surrogate vehicles in its compliance testing would create several
challenges. First, if, in lieu of testing an ADS-DV, NHTSA were to test
a surrogate vehicle, the agency may have difficulty demonstrating that
such a test establishes the noncompliance of the ADS-DV. Since an ADS-
DV would be equipped with components that provide the means to perform
automated driving, a task the conventional surrogate vehicle is either
not expected to perform or can perform while still including manual
controls, inherent differences would be expected between the two
vehicles. The implications of these differences must be understood to
assess the viability of this approach. The agency would need to attempt
to develop criteria for identifying suitable surrogates. These criteria
would need to be universal in that they need to demonstrate equivalence
for any vehicle, not only for a specific vehicle design. Second, even
if it were possible to establish criteria for reliably identifying
suitable surrogate vehicles, if it would nevertheless be more difficult
for the agency to find suitable surrogates for some ADS-DVs than
others, the agency might find it difficult to ensure that it could
treat all ADS-DVs in an equitable manner. Third, the suitable surrogate
vehicles must be available for sale in the United States.
Questions Specific to This Testing Method (General Questions Precede
This Section)
    37. To what extent could equivalence of the vehicle components used
for conventional and ADS-DVs be demonstrated to assure that surrogate
vehicle performance would be indicative of that of a surrogate ADS-DV?
    38. How can the agency confirm that the maneuver severity performed
by a surrogate manually-drivable vehicle, during FMVSS compliance
tests, is equal to that of the subject ADS-DV? For example, how can the
characterization maneuvers and subsequent scaling factors in the FMVSS
No. 126 ESC test on the surrogate vehicle be confirmed as equivalent on
the ADS-DV?
    39. If results from FMVSS compliance tests of a conventional
vehicle performed by its manufacturer differ
[[Page 24447]]
from the results of NHTSA tests of an equivalent ADS-DV (particularly
if the conventional vehicle complies with the agency's standards, but
the ADS-DV does not), can the conflicting results be reconciled? If so,
VII. Public Participation
How can I influence NHTSA's thinking on this subject?
    Your comments will help NHTSA improve this regulatory action. NHTSA
invites you to provide different views on options NHTSA discusses, new
approaches the agency has not considered, new data, descriptions of how
this ANPRM may affect you, or other relevant information.
    NHTSA welcomes public review of on all aspects of this ANPRM. NHTSA
will consider the comments and information received in developing its
eventual proposal for how to remove regulatory barriers to ADS-DVs that
lack manual controls by updating and modifying current FMVSS. As noted
thorough this document, we are especially interested in comments that
focus on how the test methods discussed ensure vehicle safety. Your
comments will be most effective if you follow the suggestions below:
     Explain your views and reasoning as clearly as possible.
     Provide solid evidence and data to support your views.
     If you estimate potential costs, explain how you arrived
at that estimate.
     Tell NHTSA which parts of the ANPRM you support, as well
as those with which you disagree.
     Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns.
     Offer specific alternatives.
     Refer your comments to the specific sections of (or
questions listed in) the ANPRM.
How do I prepare and submit comments?
    Your primary comments should be written in English. To ensure that
your comments are filed in the correct docket, please include the
docket number of this document (NHTSA-2019-0036) in your comments.
    Your primary comments should not be more than 15 pages long (49 CFR
553.21), however, you may attach additional documents, such as
supporting data or research, to your primary comments. There is no
limit on the length of the attachments.
    Please submit one copy (two copies if submitting by mail or hand
delivery) of your comments, including the attachments, to the docket
following the instructions given in the ADDRESSES section at the
beginning of this document. Please note, if you are submitting comments
electronically as a PDF (Adobe) file, we ask that the documents
submitted be scanned using the Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
process, thus allowing NHTSA to search and copy certain portions of
your submission.
    Please note that pursuant to the Data Quality Act, in order for
substantive data to be relied upon and used by the agency, it must meet
the information quality standards set forth in the Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) and DOT Data Quality Act guidelines. Accordingly, we
encourage you to consult the guidelines in preparing your comments.
DOT's guidelines may be accessed at (last accessed May 22,
How can I be sure that my comments were received?
    If you submit comments by hard copy and wish Docket Management to
notify you upon its receipt of your comments, enclose a self-addressed,
stamped postcard in the envelope containing your comments. Upon
receiving your comments, Docket Management will return the postcard by
mail. If you submit comments electronically, your comments should
appear automatically in Docket No. NHTSA-2019-0036 on If they do not appear within two weeks of posting,
NHTSA suggests that you call the Docket Management Facility at 202-366-
How do I submit confidential business information?
    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of
confidentiality, you must submit three copies of your complete
submission, including the information that you claim to be confidential
business information, to the Office of the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, U.S.
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC
    In addition, you should submit a copy (two copies if submitting by
mail or hand delivery) from which you have deleted the claimed
confidential business information to the docket by one of the methods
given above under ADDRESSES. When you submit a comment containing
information claimed to be confidential business information, you should
include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in
NHTSA's confidential business information regulation (49 CFR part 512).
Will the agency consider late comments?
    NHTSA will consider all comments that the docket receives before
the close of business on the comment closing date indicated in the
DATES section. To the extent possible, NHTSA will also consider
comments that the docket receives after that date.
How can I read the comments submitted by other people?
    You may read the comments received by the docket at the address
given in the ADDRESSES section. The hours of the docket are indicated
above in the same location. You may also read the comments on the
internet, identified by the docket number at the heading of this
document, at Please note that, even after the
comment closing date, NHTSA will continue to file relevant information
in the docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit
late comments. Accordingly, NHTSA recommends that you periodically
check the docket for new material.
VIII. Rulemaking Analyses
a. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and DOT Regulatory Policies and
    Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'' (58 FR
51735, Oct. 4, 1993), provides for making determinations whether a
regulatory action is ``significant'' and therefore subject to OMB
review and to the requirements of the Executive Order.
b. Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling
Regulatory Costs)
    This action is not subject to the requirements of E.O. 13771 (82 FR
9339, (Feb. 3, 2017)) because it is an advance notice of proposed
c. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.,
no analysis is required for an ANPRM. However, vehicle manufacturers
and equipment manufacturers are encouraged to comment if they identify
any aspects of the potential rulemaking that may apply to them.
d. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)
    NHTSA does not believe that there would be sufficient federalism
implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism assessment.
[[Page 24448]]
e. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)
    With respect to the review of the promulgation of a new regulation,
section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988, ``Civil Justice Reform'' (61 FR
4729, February 7, 1996) requires that Executive agencies make every
reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies
the preemptive effect; (2) clearly specifies the effect on existing
Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for
affected conduct, while promoting simplification and burden reduction;
(4) clearly specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately
defines key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting
clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issues by the
Attorney General. This document is consistent with that requirement.
f. Paperwork Reduction Act
    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not
required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency
unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. There are no
information collection requirements associated with this ANPRM. Any
information collection requirements and the associated burdens will be
discussed in detail once proposed rules have been issued.
g. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act
    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement
Act (NTTAA) requires NHTSA to evaluate and use existing voluntary
consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless doing so would
be inconsistent with applicable law (e.g., the statutory provisions
regarding NHTSA's vehicle safety authority) or otherwise impractical.
Voluntary consensus standard (e.g., materials specifications, test
methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are
developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as
SAE International. The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress (through
OMB) with explanations when we decide not to use available and
applicable voluntary consensus standards. While NHTSA is considering
options regarding the modification of various FMVSS, it has not yet
developed specific regulatory requirements, and thus the NTTAA does not
apply for purposes of this ANPRM.
h. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to
prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects
of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to
result in the expenditure of State, local, or tribal governments, in
the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million
annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). NHTSA has
determined that this rulemaking action would not result in expenditures
by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the
private sector, in excess of $100 million annually.
i. National Environmental Policy Act
    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the
National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has preliminarily
determined that implementation of this rulemaking action would not have
any significant impact on the quality of the human environment. The
agency will consider this further in any future proposed rules.
j. Plain Language
    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 require each agency to write all
documents in plain language. Application of the principles of plain
language includes consideration of the following questions:
     Have we organized the material to suit the public's needs?
     Are the requirements in the document clearly stated?
     Does the document contain technical language or jargon
that is not clear?
     Would a different format (grouping and order of sections,
use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand?
     Would more (but shorter) sections be better?
     Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or
    If you have any responses to these questions, please include them
in your comments on this proposal.
k. Regulatory Identifier Number (RIN)
    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center
publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may
use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document
to find this action in the Unified Agenda.
    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR
1.95 and 501.5.
Heidi Renate King,
Deputy Administrator.
Appendix A--SAE Levels of Automation
    To explain these levels of driving automation and put them in
context with the other levels defined by SAE International, content
from Table 1 of SAE J3016 \38\ describing the full array of driving
automation levels is provided here:
    \38\ See SAE J3016_201806 Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms
Related to Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles.
                              Narrative definition (i.e., What does the
                               vehicle do, what does the human driver/
    Level of automation       occupant do, and when and where do they do
Level 0....................  No Automation of driving task: The
                              performance by the driver of the entire
                              DDT, even when enhanced by active safety
Level 1....................  Driver Assistance: The sustained and ODD-
                              specific execution by a driving automation
                              system of either the lateral or the
                              longitudinal vehicle motion control
                              subtask of the DDT (but not both
                              simultaneously) with the expectation that
                              the driver performs the remainder of the
Level 2....................  Partial Driving Automation: The sustained
                              and ODD-specific execution by a driving
                              automation system of both the lateral and
                              longitudinal vehicle motion control
                              subtasks of the DDT with the expectation
                              that the driver completes the OEDR subtask
                              and supervises the driving automation
Level 3....................  Conditional Driving Automation: The
                              sustained and ODD-specific performance by
                              an ADS of the entire DDT with the
                              expectation that the DDT fallback-ready
                              user is receptive to ADS-issued requests
                              to intervene, as well as to DDT
                              performance-relevant system failures in
                              other vehicle systems, and will respond
Level 4....................  High Driving Automation: The sustained and
                              ODD-specific performance by an ADS of the
                              entire DDT and DDT fallback without any
                              expectation that a user will respond to a
                              request to intervene.
[[Page 24449]]

Level 5....................  Full Driving Automation: The sustained and
                              unconditional (i.e., not ODD-specific)
                              performance by an ADS of the entire DDT
                              and DDT fallback without any expectation
                              that a user will respond to a request to
[FR Doc. 2019-11032 Filed 5-23-19; 4:15 pm]