AV Testing Advances Without Standards

The failure of the AV START Act in the United States Senate did more than just delay U.S. federal regulations for self-driving car technology that has yet to progress beyond the pilot-test stage.

It delayed discussions that could have narrowed the almost infinite number of choices automated vehicles (AVs) must be prepared to make by creating guidelines defining what constitutes “safe” operation of a self-driving car. These guidelines would have set de facto technical priorities that could have accelerated development and acted as functional requirements to help make functional safety testing of AVs definitive enough to shave a couple of zeros off the number of AV road-test miles.

Road-test miles are instead being shaved off by the industry, which has some ideas for shortening or virtualizing the safety validation cycle for AVs.