DOT Readies New Guidelines for Self-Driving Cars

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation says it will announce new guidelines for self-driving cars this summer that update a first-round structure issued under the Obama administration last September.

The current guidelines describe a general framework but without the specifics that carmakers say they need. The Obama guidelines ask manufacturers to provide details about their autonomous technology as part of a 15-point safety assessment. They also advise but don’t order states to defer to federal safety standards.

Carmakers fret about being forced to divulge technology secrets. And they worry that states are still free to set their own regulations for self-driving cars, which could make interstate travel in an autonomous car difficult or impossible.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says the new DOT guidelines will “point a path forward for the safe deployment of automated vehicles” without divulging specifics.