US NHTSA drops requirement for manual controls

  • March 16, 2022
  • William Payne

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cleared the way for self driving vehicles without manual controls. The agency is removing the requirements for steering wheel, column, brake, gas or clutch pedals, and a driving seat, in an upcoming rewrite of the rules.

General Motors requested permission from the NHTSA in February for its self driving car unit Cruise to build a self driving car without steering wheels and brake pedals.

Cars with automated driving systems (ADS) will no longer have to have any driving equipment. However, safety systems such as airbags and seatbelts must still in place in all front seats, as at present.

The rule changes may mean that self driving cars will be able to carry three passengers at the front.

While the agency is changing the rules in general, manufacturers may still need to obtain permission from the NHTSA to sell self driving cars.