Saturday, January 28, 2023
News NHTSA Ends Human Controls Requirement for Autonomous Cars

NHTSA Ends Human Controls Requirement for Autonomous Cars

The NHTSA’s new regulations remove a big hurdle for automakers and tech companies


  • This applies only to vehicles designed to be solely autonomous.

  • In other words, manual driving controls will not be necessary.


Ask almost any automaker and they’ll tell you that autonomous driving technology is where the future is at. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just issued a final rule update that effectively removes the need for autonomous vehicles to be equipped with manual override controls.

The previous rule essentially said: “will always have a driver’s seat, a steering wheel and accompanying steering column, or just one front outboard passenger seating position.” Yesterday, the NHTSA revised its position.

As reported by Automotive News: “For vehicles designed to be solely operated by an ADS, manually operated driving controls are logically unnecessary,”

There remains one caveat however and that is safety. One safety rule is that children should still not occupy the “driver’s seat.” Relatedly, these autonomous vehicles must provide the same levels of occupant protection as current human-driven vehicles.

This collection of revised rules was first proposed two years ago. Last month, GM and Cruise lobbied the NHTSA for the right to build an autonomous vehicle without human controls. It looks as though they got their wish and have helped remove a massive hurdle for all companies developing the technology.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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