WASHINGTON, D.C.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) announced intention to prematurely end a critical, national, automated vehicle (AV) pilot program has prompted the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Auto Innovators) to underscore the program’s importance. Auto Innovators President and CEO John Bozzella sent a June 24 letter to the agency highlighting that the program is a necessary component of a much-needed, long-overdue federal regulatory AV framework. The letter also cites the pilot program’s inclusion in the industry’s recently released AV Policy Roadmap

“The Roadmap includes 14 specific recommendations for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal policymakers considered key to advancing AV testing and deployment in the United States. One of the key recommendations contained in the Roadmap was the establishment of a robust pilot program for AV testing and deployment,” wrote Bozzella.

NHTSA recently announced plans to abandon the pilot; however, Auto Innovators contends the program could support safe testing and deployment of AVs in the near-term and at scale, as the agency continues its efforts to develop a longer-term and more permanent regulatory framework. Auto Innovators stressed the importance of establishing a national pilot program – under NHTSA’s oversight – in creating a safer and cleaner future in the United States.

“The establishment of a national pilot program for AVs presents a significant leadership opportunity for NHTSA. The agency can craft a program – from the ground up – that is targeted to address current opportunities and challenges for AVs and help to bring this technology safely to the U.S. market,” continued Bozzella. 

AVs are integral to building a cleaner, safer, and smarter automotive future in the United States and the NHTSA pilot program is an important aspect of this.

“Focused and sustained leadership from NHTSA is required to ensure that AV technology and the important benefits it can deliver are realized,” concluded Bozzella.

Read the full AV Policy Roadmap to learn more about the potential for the technology to reduce congestion, improve safety for passenger and pedestrian safety, and unleash innovation to keep the United States at the cutting edge of the global automotive industry.