TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Steve Gehring says getting autonomous, connected vehicles on the road will require education. But not the kind of education you may think.
Gehring, vice president of vehicle safety and connected automation at the Association of Global Automakers, says companies need to keep federal safety officials at NHTSA in the loop about the progress on autonomous and connected cars. When it comes to breaking down regulatory barriers to the adoption of AV technology, just submitting annual voluntary self-assessments to the safety agency isn't enough.
"That's the beginning of a conversation with NHTSA," Gehring told an audience at the 2019 CAR Management Briefing Seminars on Tuesday. "If you're just submitting it, and not engaging NHTSA to help educate them about what the technology is, where it's going, what's meaningful data, we're really missing an opportunity."
He recommended that companies testing highly automated vehicles on public roads also need to communicate with more than state and local officials. Federal safety regulations must be updated to enable fully autonomous vehicles because the nation has not made enough progress in making roads safer.
"We need a clear path forward for deployment," Gehring says.
"Rulemaking takes a long time for all the right reasons. Because [NHTSA is] data driven, I think we really need, as a country, to be able to start really making that a higher priority and making sure we're updating those regulations."