U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced Wednesday the next phase of the federal government’s work on autonomous vehicles at the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2020.
Automated Vehicles 4.0 (AV 4.0) is a joint partnership between the White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation that will unify efforts in automated vehicles across 38 federal departments, independent agencies, commissions and executive offices of the president.
The program will offer guidance to state and local governments, innovators, and all stakeholders on the U.S. government’s work toward automated vehicles.
“AV 4.0 will ensure American leadership in AV technology development and integration by providing unified guidance for the first time across the federal government for innovators and stakeholders,” Chao said.
Chao cited advancements in the automotive industry over the years as evidence of the importance of ushering the autonomous vehicle age, noting that annual traffic fatalities have declined 33 percent since 1972 while vehicle miles increased 156 percent over that time.
Newer cars are safer cars, with a driver’s chances of surviving a serious crash almost doubling in a car less than 18 years old.
Recent safety additions to vehicles such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking have further increased safety in vehicles, Chao said.
Moving toward more autonomous technologies in vehicles will help decrease fatalities even more, Chao said.
“Automated vehicles have the potential to save thousands of lives annually, and improve the quality of life through reduction of traffic congestion, increased productivity and environmental benefits as well,” she said.
AV 4.0 creates federal principles for the development and integration of automated vehicles, consisting of three core focus areas: prioritize safety and security, promote innovation, and ensure a consistent regulatory approach.
A key part of the initiative is finding opportunities for collaboration including federal investments in the automated vehicle sector and providing resources for innovators, researchers, and the public.
AV 4.0 builds off Av 2.0 and 3.0 which allowed voluntary guidance to industry, as well as technical assistance and best practices to states, opening up the path to safe testing and integration of automated driving systems.
“AV 4.0 brings all of the important work happening on automated vehicle technologies across the federal government under one unified approach,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios. “The federal principles released today help foster an environment for innovators to advance safe AV technologies, and put the U.S. in a position of continued leadership in the future of transportation.”
AV 4.0 will be published in the Federal Register for public review and comment. More information on the USDOT’s work on automated vehicles can be found at www.transportation.gov/av/4.