So far, General Motors and the federal government have gotten nowhere on the topic of self-driving cars. Now, a safety group may throw a cog in the machine altogether.
According to a report from Carcomplaints.com, the Center for Automotive Safety (CAS) has submitted formal complaints with the NHTSA about GM’s self-driving car strategy. Specifically, it called on the NHTSA to not allow GM to test autonomous cars without a steering wheel or pedals.
GM petitioned the NHTSA itself last year to deploy self-driving cars without typical driver controls. The NHTSA has punted that petition and last said it will ask the public for its input on any regulation changes. Under current law, every vehicle on U.S. roads must feature steering controls and pedals. GM wants to make an exception or help re-write the rules to test its latest self-driving technology.
CAS said the NHTSA should totally throw out GM’s petition because the entire process has occurred outside of the normal procedural structural. This includes the lack of a company comment period requirement, which grants temporary exemptions.
The NHTSA was set to, for the first time, compare safety behavior between self-driving cars and human drivers. GM was also supposed to showcase that its driverless cars were as safe as humans. It’s unclear if any of the procedures have taken place yet.
However, CAS went on to say GM’s paperwork does not address some key concerns. It’s unclear if GM’s autonomous car, for example, would warn occupants of potential dangers and provide a way to disengage the self-driving mode. Additionally, there’s insufficient evidence the vehicle’s sensors could protect pedestrians and cyclists.
Rather than treat the public as test subjects, CAS called on the government to scrap GM’s petition until the technology matures.