Toronto, Ontario – Ford and General Motors are seeking to deploy experimental autonomous vehicles (AVs) on American roads in the next two years. These vehicles could potentially lack the usual manual controls present in consumer cars, omitting windshield wipers, rear-view mirrors and, in one case, transparent windshield glass.
A petition by the two OEMs aims to gain several temporary exemptions from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). While other vehicles would be exempted, this would allow for autonomous vehicles without windshield wipers, transparent glass, rearview mirrors or manual controls such as steering wheels and pedals to drive on American roads.
This extension was due to several prominent organizations in the American traffic safety sphere arguing that a 30-day comment period was insufficient, leading to a 30-day extension with the new comment period closing on September 21, 2022.
Public comments from various industries were largely supportive of increasing AV testing, citing various benefits to the defence and tech industries, and improving equitable access to transportation, particularly among aging Americans. At the same time, the American Automotive Association cautioned against rapid changes that could damage consumer trust in the NHTSA.
If passed, this could allow for the deployment of up to 2,500 AVs for the ride-sharing and delivery industry.