Self-driving vehicles allowed to skip some crash safety standards under new rule

The Trump Administration issued final rules Thursday that will allow self-driving vehicle manufacturers to skip certain federal crash safety requirements in vehicles that aren’t designed to carry people.

It marks the first major update to existing federal safety standards to accommodate innovations in driverless technology. While no fully autonomous vehicles are for sale for consumers now, industry experts expect that market share for self-driving cars and trucks will expand in the coming decade.

The rule ā€” months in the making ā€” also allows manufacturers more leeway to design self-driving vehicles without controls meant for human drivers, such as steering wheels or pedals. It’s expected to bring major cost savings to automakers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated the rule would save automakers and consumers $5.8 billion in 2050…

The rule is likely the first of many aimed at speeding the deployment of self-driving vehicles.