NSPE Plays Key Role in Efforts to Address Autonomous Vehicle Safety

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Embracing its Grand Challenge to foster ethical innovation, NSPE has been working on multiple fronts to promote and protect the public health, safety, and welfare in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies. The Society is taking action to give professional engineers a leading voice in ensuring that the same attention to safety and reliability that went into the built transportation infrastructure is incorporated into autonomous vehicles and smart transportation systems. NSPE has been collaborating with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which has been tasked with developing the nation’s first deployment regulations (including both functional operations and behavioral competencies for autonomous vehicles). NSPE has been at the forefront, participating in recent stakeholder meetings in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. The Society has provided formal written input to the California DMV urging a comprehensive and informed approach. In these submissions, NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, called for professional engineers to play a key role in vehicle safety certification that must include safety certifications by the manufacturer and third-party testing by competent and independent third-party authorities (i.e., PEs). These focused efforts will be followed by steps to engage other stakeholder groups (such as public safety, insurance, and consumer access organizations), which will not only ensure a good outcome, but also increase public awareness of the role of licensed professional engineers. Read the full letters:

Letter from President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE to the California Department of Motor Vehicles

Letter from President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE to the California Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) program