Partner Chris Grigorian was quoted in the Automotive World article, “AV standards slowed, not stopped, by pandemic,” about how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact the pace of safety standards and regulations for autonomous vehicles. The pandemic could spur calls for driverless technology and prompt faster technological developments, but the rulemaking efforts will invariably struggle to keep up.
The US has a number of rulemakings around AVs in the pipeline. “The current administration has been very willing to move this agenda forward and fully recognizes the safety benefits of these technologies,” Grigorian said.
Earlier this year, the NHTSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would make some changes to the crashworthiness standards to facilitate certification of fully autonomous vehicles that lack manual controls.
“There are several AV-related rulemaking activities underway. Some of these were scheduled to be published earlier this year, while others were scheduled to be published later in the year,” Grigorian said. “I would expect all of these rulemaking activities to be delayed slightly, depending on how far along they were before the COVID-19 office closures. But, while the shutdown may slow the agency’s progress for a period of time, it would not surprise me to see this work resume at or near the same pace it was pre-crisis very soon.”