May 22, 2018
In September 2017, the House of Representatives passed the SELF DRIVE Act by unanimous voice vote. The bill would for the first time establish a national regulatory program for highly automated vehicles (HAVs), defined technically as vehicles equipped with SAE International Levels 3-5 automated driving systems (ADS)—or, in plain English, vehicles that offer limited- to full-self-driving functions. See SAE’s Recommended Practice J3016 for more detail.
May 15, 2018
A new report by economist Jonathan Lesser of the Manhattan Institute challenges the conventional wisdom that zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) are superior to new internal combustion vehicles (ICVs) on environmental grounds. Lesser’s analysis is detailed and quantitative but the basic idea is simple: Zero-emission vehicles are only as clean as the electric power sources they plug into.
May 11, 2018
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the national safety regulator of heavy trucks and buses, or commercial motor vehicles. It was created in 2000 after Congress spun off CMV operations regulatory functions from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Motor Carriers amid complaints from highway safety advocates that the Federal Highway Administration wasn’t taking seriously the CMV regulatory component of its mission. Two decades later, these complaints from safety advocates, which supported the creation of FMCSA, are still being made.
May 2, 2018
California joined by 16 states and the District of Columbia yesterday petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt from revising his predecessor’s greenhouse gas emission standards for new cars sold in 2022-2025. The coalition’s press release claims their “lawsuit is based on the fact that the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act.”
April 16, 2018
Last week, House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced his updated Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, eliminating the air traffic control reform title, and making a small number of tweaks to his previous bill. The bad news is air traffic control modernization will continue to lag behind the rest of the industrialized world and U.S. air travelers will suffer more delays, longer flight times, and higher airfares. The good news is even without air traffic control reform, Chairman Shuster’s bipartisan legislation offers some important aviation policy improvements.
March 29, 2018
The Environmental Protection Agency is approaching the April 1st deadline to complete its Midterm Evaluation of the Obama administration’s fuel economy and motor vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards for model years 2022-2025.
March 26, 2018
Real-life road testing is the best way to continue improving the performance of automated driving systems, thanks in part to the gathering of real-time road data. Throughout that process, engineers will have the time and information to write technical standards to better inform any future regulatory changes. But cutting off or greatly curtailing automated vehicle road testing would only forestall the radical safety improvements that can help end much of the death and destruction that occur on America’s roadways due to driver error.
March 21, 2018
One of the most underappreciated drivers of the modern global economy is the humble shipping container. Widely adopted internationally in the second half of the 20th century, intermodal containers largely supplanted break bulk cargo—the bags, barrels, pallets, and crates that must be individually loaded and unloaded onto ships, railcars, and trucks.
March 20, 2018
The process for modernizing federal motor vehicle safety standards needs to be improved, thereby allowing for more rapid deployment of vehicles equipped with new self-driving technology that are expected to come to market in the coming years. This is critical not only for the potential safety benefits offered by automated vehicles, but for the potential mobility gains to the disabled and elderly, the reduced cost of mobility to urban and suburban dwellers, and far more efficient freight networks.
February 20, 2018
Applying the precautionary principle to the regulation of self-driving cars could mean more highway fatalities, by delaying the introduction of new, lifesaving technologies.