The Feds Just Gave Self-Driving Vehicles A Free Pass

The technological pursuit of self-driving vehicles continues at a rapid pace. Companies like Tesla and Waymo have been testing their latest autonomous driving systems throughout the pandemic and will aim to increase operations this year. Looking even further ahead, the outgoing Trump administration has just issued new rules allowing all self-driving vehicle manufacturers to circumvent some crash standards in order to help reduce production costs.

Reuters reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released new rules enabling these companies to avoid crash tests under one key condition: the automated vehicles must be designed for carrying products, not people. Not only can manufacturers like Amazon, who’s developing a self-driving all-electric delivery van with Rivian, avoid expensive crash tests, but also reduce expenses by not having to develop things like steering wheels and other standard controls.