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Tesla FSD Approval Could Be In The Horizon As NHTSA Launches Self-Driving Test Initiative

by Ma. Claribelle Deveza June 16, 2020

Tesla-Full-Self-Driving-Autopilot-NHTSA

Featured Image Credit: Tesla

Regulatory approval for Tesla’s Full Self-Driving package could be on the horizon now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched it’s Automated Vehicles Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing Initiative, or AV TEST Initiative for short. As the advent of fully autonomous vehicles approaches, insight from regulatory bodies like the NHTSA will be necessary to introduce the cars of the future to the present roads in the United States. 

“The AV TEST Initiative is another way that NHTSA is convening and facilitating initiatives with stakeholders to support the safe development, testing, and integration of automated vehicle technologies in the United States,” wrote the NTSA on its website. The agency has also organized a 3-day event for the initiative, which started on June 15. 

The first day of the event featured opening remarks from the NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). On Wednesday, June 17, the NHTSA will discuss the opportunities and challenges of automated driving systems. And on the last day—Thursday, June 18—leaders in the industry will discuss the significance of real-world tests when developing automated driving systems and the eventual deployment of full self-driving vehicles. 

Under the project, the NHTSA will work with states, local governments, and private-sector stakeholders developing automated driving systems. Developers can submit their automated vehicle tests to the NTHSA so the agency can share it with the general public. 

Developers can share their tests on autonomous cars, low-speed shuttles, trucks, and driverless electric delivery vehicles. The tests will help the NTHSA mold rules and regulations specifically focused on automated vehicle systems and self-driving cars.

 

Tesla-Autopilot-Full-Self-Driving-NHTSA

Credit: Synopsys

Amongst all the car companies developing autonomous vehicles, Tesla may be in the lead. According to Synopsys, there are six levels of vehicle autonomy, including: (Level 0) No Driving Automation, (Level 1) Driver Assistance, (Level 2) Partial Driving Automation, (Level 3) Conditional Automation, (Level 4) High Automation, and (Level 5) Full Automation. 

Based on Synopsys’s informational graphic (seen above), Tesla Autopilot could be classified under Level 2 to Level 3 autonomy. Tesla Autopilot can detect objects in the environment. Videos of Autopilot in action have revealed that it is capable of making informed decisions about obstacles on the road. 

Tesla’s progress with Autopilot has improved FSD as well. In April, Tesla released an FSD software update for Traffic Light and Stop Sign Recognition Control (Beta). It was a relatively small update compared to the full potential of Tesla’s FSD, but it could give the EV automaker a revenue boost. So far, Tesla has deferred a significant portion of revenue from FSD. As more features come out for FSD, Tesla will be able to include the revenue from it in its income statements. 

To include FSD revenue in its income statements, Tesla will need regulatory approval from authorities like the NHTSA. As such, it is a good sign that the agency is finally taking serious steps towards a world with autonomous vehicles. Before the AV TEST Initiative, the NHTSA even published a report on full self-driving vehicles and their components based on research from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). 




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