HANNOVER, Germany -- The Obama administration's regulatory proposals for advanced safety systems and driverless car technology means the U.S. will finally start playing catch-up with Europe after long lagging behind, says Delphi Automotive CEO Kevin Clark.
The Federal Automated Vehicles Policy introduced on Sept. 20 by the U.S. Department of Transportation outlines a flexible, four-pillar strategy for the safe testing and deployment of automated vehicles, including for the first time a consistent national framework of laws to govern driverless cars.
Clark believes the proposed rules will make it easier for technology suppliers to develop and test the emerging systems in the U.S. Until now, automakers and suppliers have been working in the dark on what will be required of them -- and even on what testing would be allowed on public roads. A national standard similar to Europe's would help eliminate those concerns.
"The U.S. is trying to fix that," Clark said.
"The U.S. government has seen the data on traffic fatalities, they've seen the benefits as it relates to safety here in Europe and they've worked real hard to create an environment where they are not getting in the way of things -- they are actually encouraging them," Clark told reporters on the sidelines of the IAA Commercial Vehicles trade show here.
Clark said the crash safety standards set by Europe's New Car Assessment Program played a key role in stimulating consumer demand for safety technologies there. In Europe, a coveted five-star vehicle safety rating is only achievable with some form of Level 2 assisted driving, such as autonomous emergency braking for pedestrian protection.