With only a few working days left on its calendar, the US Senate is considering attaching the pending AV START Act (S. 1885) to other legislation, including the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act (S. 1405). The bill, if enacted, would allow the Department of Transportation to exempt as many as 100,000 autonomous vehicles per manufacturer from federal safety regulations.
NSPE has been a leading advocate on the need to place the public health, safety, and welfare first, and require a licensed professional engineer to play a key role in the development, testing, and safety certification of autonomous vehicles. In a letter submitted to all US Senators, NSPE articulates that the AV START Act fails to address the major safety, technological, and ethical challenges that must be considered before these vehicles are deployed. Thus, NSPE urges the Senate to delay action in order to revise the legislation to provide appropriate safeguards, sufficient accountability, and the necessary security measures to prevent hacking before allowing deployment of highly automated vehicles.
NSPE will continue to proactively advocate for the role of the professional engineer in ensuring the public health, safety, and welfare is of paramount importance in the deployment of highly automated vehicles.