The US Department of Transportation has released its latest set of voluntary guidelines for automated driving systems, a report that builds on previous versions released over the past two years. With Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0, the DOT outlines additional safety principles, updates policy and offers guidance to state and local governments. "The integration of automation across our transportation system has the potential to increase productivity and facilitate freight movement," said DOT Secretary Elaine Chao. "But most importantly, automation has the potential to impact safety significantly -- by reducing crashes caused by human error, including crashes involving impaired or distracted drivers, and saving lives. The report notes that it's meant to be an update to, but not a replacement of, last year's guidance, and it encourages those developing automated driving systems to make public their Voluntary Safety Self-Assessments, which were introduced in last year's report.
We've already heard about Google's somewhat controversial autonomous vehicle test program which began two years ago using Toyota Prii and other vehicles. It appears now that yet another hybrid has been added to the driverless vehicle list. Said hybrid is a cousin to the Prius, the Lexus RX450h, and it was reportedly spotted traveling along a Southern California Freeway with the autonomous testing gear mounted atop its roof. The sighting comes just days after the California Senate passed Bill 1298, which enables the California Highway Patrol to set standards and performance requirements relating to autonomous vehicle testing. The picture also indicates the testing apparatus has been somewhat modified since earlier tests.
Ford Motor Company and Baidu will soon kickstart trials to test autonomous vehicles in Beijing, China, following efforts by Ford engineers to equip the vehicles with Baidu's Apollo Virtual Driver System. The two-year initiative was expected to commence by year-end and would involve autonomous vehicles designed to meet Level 4 driving automation standards established by SAE International. Level 4 vehicles in most instances should be able to intervene on their own, without human intervention, when there is a system failure or when things go wrong. Asian country has began investing in quantum technology and is at a similar starting point with other economic powers in this field, says Shanghai-born Turing Award winner Andrew Yao. According to Baidu, the vehicles involved in the trials should be capable of operating autonomously within a specific geographic area and under certain weather conditions.