Truck rule is first test drive of federal autonomous vehicle oversight

The federal government, which has been slow to complete comprehensive regulations for automated driving systems, is mulling proposed standards for self-driving commercial vehicles.

The proposed rule is expected this spring from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and would be in many ways a first step, as the bulk of policy governing the autonomous vehicle industry has come from a patchwork of state and local governments. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has issued only limited autonomous vehicle standards to date.

But even as automakers race to deploy the next generation of self-driving vehicles, sources familiar with federal rule-making say that the administration isn’t likely to propose a framework for passenger vehicles soon.

That runs counter to the wishes of some lawmakers in Congress, like Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, who has introduced legislation multiple times that would require the Transportation Department to create a rule-making plan for the deployment of highly automated vehicles.

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