With Congress flailing, driverless car industry looks elsewhere for certainty

Philip Koopman, a Carnegie Mellon professor working with Edge Case Research on what he says are the furthest developed of these emerging sets of standards, says the voluntary guidelines go beyond what FMVSS can do to ensure driverless car safety.

“Even if NHTSA figures out how to deal with FMVSS and all that, that has nothing to do with the software in the car,” he said. “Absolutely nothing. It has nothing to do with autonomy at all.”

“FMVSS is about, ‘will the brakes work?’” Koopman said. “It’s not about, ‘will it try and brake when it’s supposed to?’” The voluntary standards he’s working on would apply to the automated driving systems themselves, to ensure that the software is functioning well.