— GM's driverless car strategy is being questioned by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) which says the automaker shouldn't be exempted from safety standards that require brake pedals and steering wheels.
The Center says it submitted formal comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on petitions filed by General Motors and Nuro, Inc.
CAS also claims NHTSA ignored the law when safety regulators created a temporary process for exemptions that steers around longtime comment requirements for companies. The Center says petitions from GM and Nuro shouldn't even be reviewed by NHTSA because the entire process is occurring outside the law.
According to the Center, the petitions for exemption should be rejected to keep the public safe because both companies cannot prove their autonomous technology is safe. Instead of treating the public like guinea pigs in a lab, CAS says NHTSA should create and enforce clear and present safety standards concerning self-driving cars.
NHTSA allegedly can't even get its act together concerning driverless car companies submitting safety information about their autonomous technology testing.
The Center says it petitioned the government in October 2018 and requested rules that would mandate that autonomous companies submit important information about driverless car systems. However, it's now three months beyond NHTSA's own deadline and federal safety regulators still haven't responded to the petition.
The petitions filed by Nuro and GM allegedly have multiple problems, but especially the paperwork filed by General Motors. According to CAS, GM's petition neglects the issue of whether driverless car occupants will be warned about dangerous conditions and if an occupant will be able to disengage autonomous mode.
The Center for Auto Safety also alleges GM cannot provide evidence the self-driving vehicle will be at least as safe as a typical non-autonomous car.
Although the automaker publicly promotes its work with autonomous technology, GM's petition allegedly fails to show evidence the autonomous sensors on a vehicle will be capable of protecting cyclists and pedestrians.
“The path to the successful introduction of autonomous vehicle technology in the consumer marketplace must be paved with objective, measurable, repeatable safety demonstrations – in simulation, on test tracks, and in controlled environments. The risks of failure on this journey are not only to the people who will be in danger from unproven and unregulated vehicles, but to future generations who may never realize the safety potential for autonomous technology because of a rush to achieve arbitrary Wall Street driven milestones. The time is now for NHTSA to act in the interest of the public instead of the well-connected few.” - Center for Auto Safety