General Motors, LLC-Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption From Various Requirements of the Safety Standards for an All-Electric Vehicle With an Automated Driving System, 10182-10191 [2019-05119]

Download as PDF 10182 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30113 and 49 U.S.C. 30166; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8. Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8. Heidi Renate King, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–05121 Filed 3–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2019–0016] General Motors, LLC—Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption From Various Requirements of the Safety Standards for an All-Electric Vehicle With an Automated Driving System National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of receipt of petition for temporary exemption; request for public comment. AGENCY: In accordance with the procedures in the Temporary Exemption from Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, General Motors, LLC, (GM) has applied for a temporary exemption for its driverless ‘‘Zero-Emission Autonomous Vehicle’’ (ZEAV), an allelectric vehicle with an Automated Driving System (ADS), from part of each of 16 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The ZEAVs would not be equipped with a steering wheel, manually-operated gear selection mechanism, or foot pedals for braking and accelerating. If the requested exemption were granted, GM would use the ZEAVs to provide on-demand mobility services in GM-controlled fleets. GM requests the exemption be granted on either or both of two statutory bases: That it would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a level of safety at least equal to those of FMVSS from which exemption is requested, or that it would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle without unreasonably lowering the safety performance of the vehicle. NHTSA seeks comment on the merits of and most appropriate statutory basis for GM’s exemption petition and whether the petition satisfies the substantive requirements for an exemption. SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 NHTSA will assess the merits of the petition after receiving and considering the public comments on this notice, the petition, public responses to the questions in this notice, and any additional information that might be forthcoming from GM. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 20, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Wood or Justine Casselle, Office of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202–366–2992; Fax: 202–366–3820. Comments: NHTSA invites you to submit comments on the petition described herein and the questions posed below. You may submit comments identified by docket number in the heading of this notice by any of the following methods: • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below. NHTSA will consider all comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above. To the extent possible, NHTSA will also consider comments filed after the closing date. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or to 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Telephone: 202–366–9826. Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice, DOT/ALL– PO 00000 Frm 00163 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 14 FDMS, accessible through www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking and response, we encourage commenters to provide their name, or the name of their organization; however, submission of names is completely optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely comments will be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments containing proprietary or confidential information, please contact the agency for alternate submission instructions. Confidential Business Information: If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, you should submit two copies, from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the address given above. When you send a comment containing information claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulation (49 CFR part 512). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Background II. Authority and Procedures for Temporary Exemptions III. GM’s Petition A. Zero Emission Automated Vehicle i. Parent Vehicle—Chevrolet Bolt ii. Comparison of Bolt and ZEAV iii. Planned Usage of the ZEAV B. Safety Showing i. FMVSS No. 101 ii. FMVSS No. 102 iii. FMVSS No. 108 iv. FMVSS No. 111 v. FMVSS No. 114 vi. FMVSS No. 124 vii. FMVSS No. 126 viii. FMVSS No. 135 ix. FMVSS No. 138 x. FMVSS No. 141 xi. FMVSS Nos. 203, 204 and 207 xii. FMVSS No. 208 xiii. FMVSS No. 214 xiv. FMVSS No. 226 C. Low-Emission Showing D. Public Interest Argument E. Appendices F. Clarification IV. Agency’s Review of GM’s Petition V. Potential Types of Terms VI. Request for Comments and Information VII. Comment Period E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices I. Background One of the key tasks of NHTSA, the agency responsible for issuing and enforcing the existing FMVSS, in getting ready for ADS vehicles is to ensure that those standards do not impose unnecessary obstacles to those vehicles. Most existing FMVSS were drafted years ago, based on the assumption that each vehicle would have a human driver who needs controls for manually operating the vehicle, information about the vehicle’s operating condition, and a clear view in all directions of the driving environment in all weather and lighting conditions. While many of the existing FMVSS need to be updated so that they are appropriate for vehicles with modern technologies, they do not pose barriers to the manufacturing today of dual mode ADS vehicles, i.e., ADS vehicles designed to be driven either by an ADS or a human driver. Some of them could, however, pose barriers to ADS vehicles designed to be driven exclusively by an ADS. NHTSA can address the needs of exclusively ADS vehicles in different ways, depending on the time frame. In the longer term, it can conduct research on how to update the performance requirements and test procedures and then initiate rulemaking proceedings to modernize the FMVSS. In the near term, the agency can, if needed and merited, grant, in whole or in part, petitions from vehicle manufacturers to exempt limited numbers of their vehicles from select FMVSS so that the manufacturers can gain additional on-road experience. While established vehicle manufacturers can conduct on-road tests to evaluate their vehicles without first obtaining an exemption, if they wish to mix such testing with operations involving transporting the public, exemptions may, to that extent, be necessary. In January 2018, GM submitted such a petition for the ZEAV, a vehicle designed to be driven exclusively by an ADS. GM requested the vehicle’s temporary exemption from parts of each of 16 FMVSS. This notice accomplishes two things. First, it serves as a notice of receipt of GM’s petition. Second, it requests (a) comments on the petition and the discussion in this notice and (b) responses to a series of questions related to the petition. While the analysis of exemption petitions based on rationales other than economic hardship generally involves comparing the relative safety of exempted vehicles and nonexempted vehicles, this is the first petition whose analysis by NHTSA will involve a VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 comparison of (1) a vehicle in which all driving decisions as to when and how it is appropriate to use crash avoidance technologies and take actions to implement those decisions would be made by an ADS to (2) a vehicle in which almost all of those decisions are made and implemented by a human driver. This difference could affect the amount of safety benefits generated by Federally-mandated safety technologies. Because this is an important case of first impression and because other petitions for the exemption of other vehicles with ADS are expected in the coming years, NHTSA believes that inclusion of the list of questions is necessary to inform the public about the novel and important issues presented by this petition and to elicit public feedback to aid the agency in determining how to address and resolve those issues. The feedback will also aid the agency, if it partially or fully grants an exemption, in determining how to promote, through the setting of terms and monitoring GM’s adherence to them, the safe operation of GM’s ZEAVs. II. Authority and Procedures for Temporary Exemptions Chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to exempt, on a temporary basis, under specified circumstances, and on terms the Secretary deems appropriate, motor vehicles from a FMVSS or bumper standard. This authority is set forth at 49 U.S.C. 30113. The Secretary has delegated the authority for implementing this section to NHTSA.1 The Safety Act authorizes the Secretary to grant, in whole or in part, a temporary exemption to a vehicle manufacturer if the Secretary makes specified findings. The Secretary must look comprehensively at the request for exemption and find that the exemption is consistent with the public interest and with the objectives of the Vehicle Safety Act.2 In addition, the Secretary must make one of the following more focused findings: (i) compliance with the standard[s] [from which exemption is sought] would cause substantial economic hardship to a manufacturer that has tried to comply with the standard[s] in good faith; (ii) the exemption would make easier the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a safety level at least equal to the safety level of the standard; (iii) the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a lowemission motor vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of that vehicle; or (iv) compliance with the standard would prevent the manufacturer from selling a motor vehicle with an overall safety level at least equal to the overall safety level of nonexempt vehicles.3 The second and third of these additional findings are the bases for GM’s request for exemption. First, GM requests the Secretary to grant its petition based on finding that an exemption is consistent with the public interest and with the Safety Act, and that the exemption would make easier the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a safety level at least equal to the safety level of the standard.4 Second, GM requests the Secretary to grant its petition on finding that the exemption is consistent with the public interest and with the Safety Act, and that the exemption would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor vehicle and would not unreasonably reduce the safety of that vehicle.5 NHTSA established 49 CFR part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory provisions concerning temporary exemptions. The requirements in 49 CFR 555.5 state that the petitioner must set forth the basis of the petition by providing the information required under 49 CFR 555.6, and the reasons why the exemption would be in the public interest and consistent with the objectives of the Safety Act. A petition justified on the basis that an exemption from a FMVSS would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a level of safety at least equal to the level of safety required by the standard must include the following information specified in 49 CFR 555.6(b): (1) A description of the safety features, and research, development, and testing documentation establishing the innovational nature of such features; (2) An analysis establishing that the level of safety of the feature is equivalent to or exceeds the level of safety established in the standard from which exemption is sought; (i) A detailed description of how a vehicle equipped with the safety or impact protection feature differs from one that complies with the standard; (ii) If applicant is presently manufacturing a vehicle conforming to the standard, the results of tests conducted to substantiate certification to the standard; and 3 49 1 49 CFR 1.94. 2 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(A). PO 00000 Frm 00164 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10183 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B). U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(ii). 5 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(iii). 4 49 E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 10184 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices (iii) The results of tests conducted on the safety or impact protection features that demonstrates performance which meets or exceeds the requirements of the standard. (3) Substantiation that a temporary exemption would facilitate the development or field evaluation of the vehicle; (4) A statement whether, at the end of the exemption period, the manufacturer intends to conform to the standard, apply for a further exemption, or petition for rulemaking to amend the standard to incorporate the safety features; and (5) A statement that not more than 2,500 exempted vehicles will be sold in the United States in any 12-month period for which an exemption may be granted pursuant to this paragraph. A petition justified on the basis that an exemption would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor vehicle and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of that vehicle must include the following information specified in 49 CFR 555.6(c): (1) Substantiation that the vehicle is a lowemission vehicle; (2) Research, development, and testing documentation establishing that a temporary exemption would not unreasonably degrade the safety or impact protection of the vehicle; (i) A detailed description of how the motor vehicle equipped with the low-emission engine would, if exempted, differ from one that complies with the standard; (ii) If the applicant is presently manufacturing a vehicle conforming to the standard, the results of tests conducted to substantiate certification to the standard; (iii) The results of any tests conducted on the vehicle that demonstrate its failure to meet the standard, expressed as comparative performance levels; and (iv) Reasons why the failure to meet the standard does not unreasonably degrade the safety or impact protection of the vehicle. (3) Substantiation that a temporary exemption would facilitate the development or field evaluation of the vehicle; and (4) A statement of whether the petitioner intends to conform to the standard at the end of the exemption period; and (5) A statement that not more than 2,500 exempted vehicles will be sold in the U.S. in any 12-month period for which an exemption may be granted. III. GM’s Petition GM’s petition seeks a two-year exemption from parts of each of 16 FMVSS for the production of 2500 or fewer ZEAVs per year.6 Citing a report by Nidhi Kalra and David G. Groves,7 GM argues ‘‘(e)very day of delay in getting autonomous vehicles safely on American Roads is a day in which we are losing lives that could be saved.’’ 6 GM Petition at 3. Enemy of Good, Estimating the Cost of Waiting for Nearly Perfect Automated Vehicles, Rand Corp. (2017), available at https:// www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2150.html. 7 The VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 GM states that, during the exemption period, it would work with NHTSA and industry stakeholders on rulemaking to address autonomous vehicle technology.8 GM states that if that rulemaking were not completed during the two-year exemption period, it would likely request a renewal of the exemption.9 It also states that (if its petition were granted) it would operate any ZEAVs produced during the exemption period throughout their normal service life 10—i.e., well beyond the two-year exemption period. GM provides the following explanation of how it organized the arguments in its petition: GM seeks an ‘‘exemption’’ under two separate statutory provisions, 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(ii) and (iii). As this Petition makes clear, ‘‘exemption’’ is a term of art that is a misnomer in this context because GM does not seek to be ‘‘exempted’’ from any safety requirements. Rather, through this Petition, GM seeks authorization to satisfy the safety purpose and intent of certain FMVSS requirements and tests through different designs and systems. Because the ZEAV satisfies the requirements of both provisions, NHTSA may grant this Petition under either or both provisions. First, under 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3), NHTSA may issue an FMVSS exemption ‘‘on finding that—(A) an exemption is consistent with the public interest and this chapter or chapter 325 of this title (as applicable); and (B) . . . the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of that vehicle.’’ Thus, in order to justify an exemption, a petition under this provision must support three primary showings: The public interest showing; the low-emission showing; and the safety showing, as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(iii). These provisions of 30113(b)(3)(B)(iii) foster the same goals that GM pursues with this application: the development and prompt availability of new low-emission vehicles that improve consumer mobility and meet federal safety objectives embodied in the Safety Act. As demonstrated below, granting this Petition would make easier the development and field evaluation of GM’s zero-emission autonomous vehicle, and GM’s proposed deployment program fully satisfies the three requirements of 30113(b)(3)(B)(iii). Second, this Petition also seeks an exemption on the independent basis that it will ‘‘make easier the development [and] field evaluation of new motor vehicle safety features.’’ Under 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3), NHTSA may also issue an exemption ‘‘on finding that—(A) an exemption is consistent with the public interest and this chapter or chapter 325 of this title (as applicable); and (B) . . . the exemption would make easier the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a safety level at least equal to the safety level of the standard.’’ Thus, under this provision, the Petition must support three primary showings: the public interest showing; the development and evaluation of a new safety feature showing; and the FMVSS safety showing, as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(ii). The discussion below supports findings that GM’s proposed ZEAV deployment fully satisfies the three criteria of both 30113(b)(3)(B)(ii) and (iii), and that NHTSA should therefore grant the Petition. In furtherance of this Petition, the discussion below contains: A description of GM’s ZEAV program and the vehicle; A discussion of how the Petition should be evaluated under the Safety Act and NHTSA’s regulations and procedures; A Standard-by-Standard description of how GM’s ZEAV achieves the safety purposes of the affected human-driver based FMVSS requirements; An explanation of how granting this Petition will facilitate the development and field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle; A discussion of how granting this Petition will benefit the public interest; and A discussion of GM’s plans for compliance with applicable FMVSS during and after the effective dates of the proposed exemption. (Footnotes omitted.) A. Zero Emission Automated Vehicle i. Parent Vehicle—Chevrolet Bolt The ZEAV would be built from the architecture of the Chevrolet Bolt EV.11 GM describes its Bolt EV as a zeroemission vehicle, with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated all-electric range of 238 miles on a full charge.12 The company states it created the original prototypes for the ZEAV by retrofitting Bolt EVs with autonomous controls and equipment.13 ii. Comparison of Bolt and ZEAV The Bolt EV and the ZEAV are both all-electric vehicles. GM did not indicate whether the motor and battery pack of the ZEAV would differ in any significant way from those of the Bolt EV. GM notes that the ZEAV would have electrification innovations incorporated from the Bolt EV, but does not elaborate on the nature, extent or importance of those innovations.14 As discussed later in this notice, GM notes that the ZEAV’s high-performance computer system and array of sensors would draw power from the power supply for the zero-emission propulsion system, potentially affecting the range of the ZEAV. GM states that the all-electric 11 Id. 8 GM at 7. at 7 and FN 11. 13 Id. at 8. 14 Id. at 7. Petition at 38. 12 Id. 9 Id. 10 Id. PO 00000 Frm 00165 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices range of the ZEAV has not yet been determined. There are significant differences between the Bolt EV and the ZEAV with respect to how they are designed to be driven and how safety systems would be activated. The Bolt EV is exclusively driven by a human driver. In contrast, the ZEAV would be exclusively driven by an ADS. More specifically, in relation to the SAE International Levels of Automation 3–5—Automated Driving Systems (ADSs)—Conditional, High, and Full Automation,15 the Bolt EV’s highest driving automation capability would be considered to be at automation Level 0 16 and the ZEAV’s capability at driving automation Level 4.17 The ZEAV’s ADS would be a combination of various hardware and software components that function as a system to perform functions traditionally performed by human drivers, i.e., perceive and interpret the driving environment, the objects in that environment, and their likely future movement, make decisions about accelerating, braking and steering so as to select and navigate safe paths through that environment and around those objects, and implement those decisions. While the Bolt EV is equipped with a steering wheel and brake and accelerator pedals, among other manual controls, the ZEAV would have none of these components. To emphasize this point, GM notes: ‘‘By removing human input from the formula, these changes provide the safety advantages of autonomous transportation while ensuring that passengers cannot interfere, purposefully or inadvertently, with the safe operation of the vehicle.’’ 18 These differences are further described in Appendix II of the petition. GM suggests that these differences might affect the range of the ZEAV.19 in a GM-controlled rideshare program.20 This approach would, GM says, allow it to ‘‘closely monitor and address safety in every ZEAV deployed.’’ 21 If an incident were to occur, GM states it ‘‘could promptly analyze the situation in depth and address it.’’ 22 According to GM, ‘‘common factors such as human driver behavior, consumer failure to maintain the vehicle, and consumer failure to repair the vehicle or obtain recall repairs will not be factors for the safety of GM-maintained-and-operated ZEAV fleets.’’ 23 GM says that the operations of the ZEAVs would be carefully circumscribed, stating: iii. Planned Usage of the ZEAV B. Safety Showing In support of both statutory bases cited in its petition for an exemption, GM asserts that, for each of the 16 FMVSS from which it seeks temporary exemption, in part or in full, the ZEAVs would ‘‘effectively meet all FMVSS safety requirements’’ and would provide a safety level at least equal to the safety level of the affected standard(s) as required by statute.27 In order to deploy GM states that if it were granted an exemption, it would deploy the ZEAVs 15 SAE J3016_201806 Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles. 16 No Automation of driving task: While the vehicle may provide warnings (e.g., forward collision warning and blind-spot warning), the human driver must in all conditions and at all times perform all aspects of the driving task like monitoring the driving environment, steering, braking and accelerating. 17 Full Driving Automation: The vehicle can perform all aspects of the driving task at all times and under all conditions. While the human occupants need to set the trip destination and start the ADS, they need never be involved in any aspects of the driving task. 18 GM Petition at 12. 19 Id.at 34. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 GM’s ZEAV fleet will operate only within defined geographic boundaries, and limited to predefined speeds and weather conditions. GM’s limitations on the operation of its ZEAV fleet will enhance safety—limited speeds eliminate events due to driving above the speed limit, and weather restrictions reduce occurrences of safety system activations due to weather-related road conditions. GM’s program parameters will reduce the number of miles that the ZEAVs will be driven in higher-risk situations, so the ZEAV is not likely to encounter many of the risk scenarios that other vehicles encounter.24 and: The vehicles will drive only in pre-mapped areas for which GM fully understands the infrastructure and conditions that the vehicles will encounter.25 GM notes, however, that while the ZEAVs would have not-to-exceed speeds, GM expects to increase their ‘‘not-to-exceed speeds’’ during the requested two-year exemption period.26 GM further notes that while GM’s ZEAVs would be weather restricted, GM expects to expand its operational design domain (ODD) for rain, snow, and winter driving during the proposed exemption period. GM does not address what additional changes, if any, it might make after that period. 20 Id.at 21 Id. 5. at 21. 22 Id. 23 Id. at 22. at 13. 25 GM Petition, Appendix III at 19. 26 GM Petition at 21. 27 Id. at 33. the ZEAVs, GM seeks a temporary exemption from the following FMVSS, either in whole or in part: No. 101, Controls and Displays; No. 102, Transmission Shift Position Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect; No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment; No. 111, Rearview Mirrors; No. 114, Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention; No. 124, Accelerator Control Systems; No. 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems; No. 135, Light Vehicle Brake Systems; No. 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems; No. 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles; No. 203, Impact Protection for the Driver from the Steering Control System; No. 204, Steering Control Rearward Displacement; No. 207, Seating Systems; No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection; No. 214, Side Impact Protection; and No. 226, Ejection Mitigation. The following paragraphs paraphrase how the GM petition discusses each standard from which GM seeks exemption: i. FMVSS No. 101 The purpose of FMVSS No. 101 is ‘‘to ensure the accessibility, visibility and recognition of motor vehicle controls, telltales and indicators, and to facilitate the proper selection of controls. . .’’ in order to reduce safety hazards caused by the diversion of the driver’s attention from the driving task and mistakes by the driver in selecting controls.28 Because the ZEAV would not be equipped with human driver controls and would not have a human driver, GM states that the requirements for certain controls, telltales and indicators should not apply 29 and requests an exemption from them. GM further states that, instead, its vehicle would be equipped with functionally equivalent ADS interfaces that provide the ADS with access to the information and controls necessary to drive the vehicle and maintain safety.30 ii. FMVSS No. 102 FMVSS No. 102 specifies requirements for transmission shift position sequence, starter interlock, and transmission braking effect. The purpose of these requirements is to reduce the likelihood of shifting errors, to prevent starter engagement by the driver when the transmission is in a drive position, and to provide supplemental braking at speeds below 25 mph. Paragraph S3.1.4 and its 24 Id. PO 00000 Frm 00166 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10185 28 49 CFR 571.101, paragraph S2. Petition at 23–24. 30 Id. at 24. 29 GM E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 10186 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices subparagraphs require that identification of shift positions and shift position sequence be displayed in view of the driver. GM states that the ZEAV would not have a human driver, the information would be provided electronically to its ADS. GM further states that its vehicle would meet all other requirements of this standard. iii. FMVSS No. 108 FMVSS No. 108 was established to provide adequate illumination of the roadway and to enhance the conspicuity of motor vehicles so that their presence is perceived by other roadway users and signals understood in daylight, darkness and reduced visibility.31 GM explains that the ZEAV would use radar and lidar and would not rely on visible light and, therefore, operation of headlamp switches as required by the standard would be unnecessary.32 GM explains that the vehicle would continue to use ordinary lower beams, but would not use upper beams.33 GM further explains that the ZEAV would have ‘‘interfaces that allow the ADS to receive, monitor, and analyze information otherwise provided by the telltales and indicators related to turn signals and headlamps, and to issue commands to control the headlamps and turn signals.’’ 34 iv. FMVSS No. 111 FMVSS No. 111 pertains to rearview visibility and requires rearview mirrors and images to provide a driver with a clear and reasonably unobstructed view to the rear. GM states that the ZEAV would include ‘‘rear-facing cameras, radar sensors, and lidars that continuously provide full rear-field-ofview information to the ADS.’’ 35 GM further states that its vehicle would have sensors that provide overlapping coverage and environmental information to the ADS, allowing it to perceive the vehicle’s surroundings in ‘‘significantly more breadth and detail than interior and exterior rearview mirrors provide to human drivers.’’ 36 v. FMVSS No. 114 GM asserts although the ZEAV would comply with the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 114, the test procedures in paragraph S6 should not apply and requests an exemption.37 GM explains that its vehicle would not have conventional controls for the parking brake, service brake or transmission gear selection.38 GM further explains that the ZEAV would be designed to enable the ADS to determine and control the brake system status electronically.39 viii. FMVSS No. 135 FMVSS No. 135 was established to vi. FMVSS No. 124 ensure safe braking performance under FMVSS No. 124 requires the return of normal and emergency driving the throttle to the idle position when the conditions.51 In GM’s ZEAV, the ADS driver removes actuating force from the would control braking through accelerator control (or if the accelerator commands to the brake control module control system is disconnected). GM as the vehicle would not be equipped states that the ADS would be the driver with an accelerator pedal, a service in the ZEAV, and therefore, the ADS brake pedal, or manual parking brake would regulate vehicle propulsion.40 As controls.52 For that reason, GM states a result, GM suggests that FMVSS No. that human control requirements of 124 should not apply and requests as paragraph S5.3.1, the telltale exemption.41 GM explains that its ADS requirements of paragraphs S5.1.2, S5.5, would include two independent S5.5.5, and the tests in paragraph S7 are software controls that establish vehicle not applicable and requests an exemption.53 GM asserts that, because of propulsion and asserts that its system the ADS, the vehicle would meet the could satisfy the time and temperature performance requirements of this requirements of this standard.42 standard and the vehicle’s braking vii. FMVSS No. 126 system would satisfy the stopping The purpose of FMVSS No. 126 is to distance and grade-holding performance prevent driver loss of directional requirements of this standard.54 GM control, including loss of control further asserts that its vehicle would resulting in vehicle rollover.43 GM states undergo brake testing to demonstrate it that the ZEAV would have an Electronic meets the performance requirements Stability Control (ESC) system before deployment.55 To do so, GM functionally similar to that of the Bolt would use test versions of ZEAVs that EV.44 However, the ZEAV would not differ from the vehicles described in this have a steering wheel, brake or petition in that they would be equipped accelerator pedals, and could not be with standard human driving controls tested pursuant to paragraph S5.2 and (including steering, accelerator and paragraphs S7.6 through S7.9.45 The brake controls).56 GM states that it ADS would electronically interface with intends to certify compliance with the the steering, braking and accelerator performance requirements of this control systems.46 Because there would standard based on those tests.57 be no human driver, GM also states that ix. FMVSS No. 138 it would not meet the telltale FMVSS No. 138 specifies requirements or related test protocols of requirements for tire pressure paragraphs S5.3, S7.2, S7.3, S7.8 and monitoring systems to warn drivers of S7.10.47 GM asserts that it would ‘‘run tests to ascertain the full functionality of underinflation of tires and the resulting safety problems. Paragraphs S4.3 and the ESC system’’ before deployment.48 To do so, GM explains that it would use S4.4 require telltales visible to the driver. GM explains that the ZEAV test versions of ZEAVs that differ from would not have a driver seating position the vehicles described in this petition and would not include tire pressure and that would be equipped with telltales visible to vehicle occupants.58 standard human driving controls Instead, the vehicle’s ADS would (including steering, accelerator and monitor the tire pressure electronically, brake controls).49 GM asserts that its detect low pressure, and recognize vehicle would meet the safety intent of malfunctions in the tire pressure this standard and states that it would monitoring system.59 To help in certify compliance with the controlling the maintenance and 38 Id. operation of vehicle fleets, the ADS 39 Id. 40 Id. at 27. 50 GM 41 Id. 43 49 CFR 571.108, paragraph S2. 32 GM Petition at 25. 33 Id. 34 Id. 35 Id. at 26. 36 Id. 37 Id. at 26. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 CFR 571.126, paragraph S2. Petition at 27. 44 GM 45 Id. 46 Id. 47 Id. 48 Id. 49 GM Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Petition at 27 and Appendix II at 15. CFR 571.135, paragraph S2. 52 GM Petition at 28. 53 Id. 54 Id. 55 Id. 56 GM Petition, Appendix II at 15. 57 GM Petition, Appendix II at 15. 58 GM Petition at 29. 59 Id. 51 49 42 Id. 31 49 performance requirements of this standard based on the above described tests.50 Petition, Appendix II at 15. Frm 00167 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices would communicate tire pressure status to GM.60 x. FMVSS No. 141 FMVSS No. 141 specifies minimum requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles to reduce injuries resulting from collisions with pedestrians by providing a sound with the loudness and characteristics necessary for the vehicles to be detected and recognized as vehicles by pedestrians. GM asserts that it would test and certify its vehicle to meet this standard, but the ZEAV would not have a human-controlled gear selector to demonstrate compliance with paragraph S5 of this standard (which requires sounds to be produced when the gear selector is moved to the ‘‘drive’’ position or other forward gear).61 GM explains that the ZEAV’s ADS would communicate with the gear selector control actuators, and in response, trigger the sound emission performance required by this standard.62 xi. FMVSS Nos. 203, 204 and 207 FMVSS Nos. 203 and 204 relate to impact protection for the driver from a vehicle’s steering control system (steering wheel and steering column) in the event of a crash. GM states that the ZEAV would not be equipped with a steering wheel or steering column; therefore, there is no risk of chest, neck or facial injury being caused by either.63 GM asserts that computer simulation crash tests and subsequent physical crash tests would validate occupant protection for all seating positions.64 Additionally, GM asserts that these tests would verify that ‘‘the left front seating position safety protection provides occupant protection comparable to that provided to the right front seat passenger.’’ 65 For these same reasons, and because there would not be a human driver, GM asserts that the FMVSS No. 207 requirement to have a seat for the driver also should not apply and requests an exemption.66 xii. FMVSS No. 208 GM makes the same assertion for certain paragraphs of FMVSS No. 208, which specifies test procedures and requirements for the driver’s seating position. The purpose of this standard is to reduce the number of deaths and the 60 Id. 61 GM severity of injuries by specifying vehicle crashworthiness and equipment requirements. Some paragraphs within this standard refer to positioning an anthropomorphic test device (‘‘dummy’’) in the driver position.67 Because GM’s ZEAV would not have a steering control system or a human driver, GM states that it is precluded from using the specified test procedures in this standard.68 Instead, GM states that it would ‘‘mirror the dummy-positioning provisions of the right front passenger seating position in the left front seating position.’’ 69 Paragraph S7.3 specifies requirements for an audible and visual warning system for the driver seating position’s seat belt assembly. Again, GM explains that because its vehicle would not have a driver, the vehicle’s ADS would electronically receive the status of passengers’ seat belt utilization.70 GM stated that the vehicle’s ADS would also provide seat belt reminders and warnings to all vehicle occupants before initiating a ride.71 Finally, paragraph S4.5.2 requires that an air bag readiness indicator be visible from the driver’s seating position to alert the driver that the vehicle’s air bags may not function properly and may require service. GM states that this information would be provided to the ADS, instead of a human driver.72 Because GM would control the operation of its vehicles, the company explains that it would receive diagnostics from the vehicles and thus would be able to determine whether further evaluation or repair is necessary.73 xiii. FMVSS No. 214 Paragraph S12 of FMVSS No. 214 also provides test procedures involving a dummy positioned in the driver seating position. The purpose of FMVSS No. 214 is to reduce the risk of injuries to vehicle occupants in side impact crashes. GM again asserts that it would ‘‘mirror the right front test dummy positioning in the left front seating position’’ and would utilize computer simulation crash tests and subsequent physical crash tests to validate occupant protection.74 xiv. FMVSS No. 226 FMVSS No. 226 relates to ejection mitigation in the event of a rollover. The purpose of this standard is to reduce the Petition at 29. 67 See, 62 Id. 63 Id. at 29–30. 64 Id. at 30. 65 Id. 66 Id. FMVSS No. 207 establishes requirements for seats, attachment assemblies and their installation to minimize the possibility of failure resulting from vehicle impact in a crash. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 68 GM e.g., 49 CFR 571.208 at S10.3.1. Petition at 31. 69 Id. likelihood of ejections of vehicle occupants through side windows during rollovers or side impact crashes. Paragraph S4.2.2 of that standard requires a readiness indicator to be visible from the driver’s seating position to alert the driver that the vehicle’s curtain air bags may not function properly and may require service. Like the information provided by other indicators, GM states that this information would be provided to the ADS rather than a human driver.75 Because GM would control the operation of its vehicles, the company again explains that it would receive diagnostics from the vehicles and thus would be able to determine whether further evaluation or repair is necessary.76 C. Low-Emission Showing To be eligible for a temporary exemption on the grounds that the exemption would make development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle easier without unreasonably lowering the safety performance of the vehicle, the applicant must substantiate that the vehicle is a low-emission vehicle. To qualify as a low-emission vehicle under 49 U.S.C. 30113(a), the vehicle must meet the applicable standards for new motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7521, et seq. The EPA’s regulations issued pursuant to the Clean Air Act establish exhaust emission thresholds for lightduty low-emission vehicles and zeroemission vehicles. To qualify as a zeroemission vehicle, a vehicle must meet the applicable standards specified at 40 CFR 88.104–94. GM asserts that its vehicle would be ‘‘an all-electric, zero-emission vehicle that does not utilize any form of combustion or emit any of the pollutants covered by Section 202 of the Clean Air Act.’’ 77 According to GM, although this vehicle would share a platform with the Bolt EV, the vehicle’s zero-emission propulsion system would perform differently because (1) the vehicle’s computer system and sensors would draw power from the power supply for the propulsion system, and (2) the vehicle would be driven by the ADS.78 GM believes that the real world field evaluation of this vehicle would ‘‘generate valuable data about advantages and disadvantages of incorporating the sophisticated computer and sensors of an ADS in a 70 Id. 71 Id. 75 Id. 72 Id. 76 Id. 77 Id. 73 Id. 74 Id. PO 00000 at 32. Frm 00168 at 34. 78 Id. Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10187 E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 10188 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices zero-emission platform.’’ 79 GM believes this data would allow it to evaluate the impact of a fully autonomous ondemand service on the performance of the zero-emission propulsion system.80 GM states that granting this exemption would encourage the development and introduction of zero-emission autonomous vehicles by GM and other manufacturers.81 D. Public Interest Argument GM asserts that granting this exemption would be beneficial to the public. GM states that the safety advances resulting from this exemption would have the potential to save lives and reduce motor vehicle crashes and injuries.82 According to GM, granting the exemption would ‘‘support thousands of jobs, increase urban mobility options, foster public acceptance of both low-emission and autonomous vehicles, generate important real-world data, and inform future NHTSA action.’’ 83 E. Appendices In further support of its request for temporary exemption, GM’s petition includes three appendices. Appendix I provides additional information to support the petition on the basis of facilitating the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle (49 CFR 555.6(c)). Appendix II provides supplemental technical information, including an overview of the vehicle’s ADS and external sensor system; how the vehicle processes and translates information to control vehicle movement; the vehicle’s connectivity, redundancy and fail-safe functionality; GM’s approach to testing the vehicle’s ESC and brake systems; information on how the vehicle would interact with passengers in a ride-share scheme; and some test data.84 Appendix III details GM’s approach to demonstrating how its safety assurance, comprehensive risk management and deep integration processes for its vehicle and ADS meet the Safety Act requirements.85 Appendix III also provides additional information on cybersecurity,86 passenger and other road-user interactions,87 and fleet management.88 79 Id. F. Clarification In the section of its petition titled ‘‘Evaluating Safety in a Petition for Exemption Under the Safety Act,’’ GM speaks of the ‘‘approach to safety regulation crafted by Congress in the Safety Act’’ and states ‘‘(t)hroughout its history, NHTSA has never created a new Standard (or a de facto Standard) before a new technology has entered commerce.’’ A reader might incorrectly conclude from this statement that the agency could not and never has set requirements for or mandated a major technology prior to its entry into commerce. It is correct that NHTSA has chosen, as a matter of policy, not to do this in the last several decades, preferring instead to allow new technology to mature first. However, in November 1970, NHTSA issued a final rule establishing performance requirements for passive restraints.89 The first passive restraints did not appear in on-road test fleets until 1971, and the first ones in vehicles available to the public did not arrive until 1973.90 IV. Agency’s Review of GM’s Petition The agency has not yet made any judgment on the merits of the petition or on the adequacy of the information submitted. NHTSA will assess the merits of GM’s petition after receiving and considering the public comments on this notice and the petition and responses to the questions in this notice, and any additional information that may be forthcoming from GM. We note that GM identifies several tests that would be performed to demonstrate safety equivalence, which GM did not include in its petition, and which we presume had not been performed as of the submission of the petition. NHTSA is placing a nonconfidential copy of the petition in the docket in accordance with statutory and administrative provisions. The agency will update the docket with any additional information it receives from GM and will reopen or extend the comment period for this petition as needed. V. Potential Types of Terms Once a manufacturer receives an exemption from the prohibitions of 49 U.S.C. 30112(a)(1), NHTSA can affect the use of those vehicles produced 80 Id. 81 Id. 82 Id. at 35. 83 Id. 84 GM Petition, Appendix II at 1. Petition, Appendix III at 1–2. 86 Id. at 10. 87 Id. at 18–19. 88 Id. 19–21. 85 GM VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 89 35 FR 16927, November 3, 1970. The full early history of the notices issued on passive restraints is set out in Chrysler v. Department of Transportation, 472 F2d 659, 664–666 (6th Cir. 1972). 90 Automotive News, October 31, 2011. Available at http://www.autonews.com/article/20111031/ CHEVY100/310319928/impalas-1973-experimentalairbags-held-up. PO 00000 Frm 00169 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 pursuant to the exemption only to the extent that NHTSA either sets terms when partially or fully granting the exemption or exercises its enforcement authority (e.g., its safety defect authority). The agency’s authority to set terms is broad. Since the terms would be the primary means of monitoring and affecting the safe operation of the exempted vehicles, the agency would consider carefully whether to establish terms and what types of terms to establish if it were to grant a petition. The manufacturer would need to agree to abide by the terms set for that exemption in order to begin and continue producing vehicles pursuant to that exemption. Nothing in either the statute or implementing regulations limits the application of these terms to the period during which the exempted vehicles are produced. NHTSA could set terms that continue to apply to the vehicles throughout their normal service life if it deems that such application is necessary to serve the interests of safety. Thus, if NHTSA were to grant an exemption, in whole or in part, it could establish, for example, reporting terms to ensure a continuing flow of information to the agency throughout the normal service life of the exempted vehicles, not just during the two-year period of exemption. Given the uniqueness of GM’s vehicles, its petition, and public safety concerns, and especially given GM’s expectations that the capabilities of the ZEAVs would evolve over their lifetime, extended reporting may be appropriate. Since only a portion of the total mileage that the vehicles, if exempted, could be expected to travel during their normal service life would have been driven by the end of the exemption period, the data would need to be reported over a longer period of time to enable the agency to make sufficiently reliable judgments. Such judgments might include those made in a retrospective review of the agency’s determination about the anticipated safety effects of the exemption. NHTSA could also establish terms to specify what the consequences would be if the flow of information were to cease or become inadequate during or after the exemption period. Other potential terms could include limitations on vehicle operations (based upon speed, weather, identified ODDs, road types, ownership and management, etc.). Conceivably, some conditions could be graduated, i.e., restrictions could be progressively relaxed after a period of demonstrated driving performance. Further, as with datasharing, it may be necessary to specify E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices that these terms would apply to the exempted vehicles beyond the two-year exemption period. NHTSA notes that its regulations at 49 CFR part 555 provide that the agency can revoke an exemption if a manufacturer fails to satisfy the terms of the exemption. NHTSA could also seek injunctive relief.91 VI. Request for Comments and Information As noted above, the ADS in GM’s ZEAV seeks to replicate and replace the complex perceiving and judging capabilities of a human driver. As GM states, With the ADS as the driver, there is no need for features designed to interface with a human driver, such as manual human driver controls (e.g., steering wheel, brake pedal, and accelerator pedal), human-driverspecific information systems (e.g., telltales and indicator lamps), human-driver-oriented visibility features (e.g., rearview mirrors), or human-driver-specific occupant protection (e.g., steering-wheel-mounted airbag).92 NHTSA anticipates that the complexity of the technologies involved in this petition will complicate its efforts to assess the safety performance of the ZEAVs. Further complicating those efforts will be the expected evolution of the capabilities of the ZEAVs throughout the course of their normal service life. This expectation is based on GM’s statements in its petition that the ZEAVs would operate initially only in highly constrained driving scenarios, e.g., at low speed, in daylight and fair weather, on streets with one lane in each direction, but later in progressively less constrained circumstances. As a result, the safety record of the ZEAVs during the potential two-year period of requested exemption might not be predictive of their safety record during balance of their normal service life. An additional consideration raised by this petition is whether to set terms and conditions on the exemption and, if so, what terms and for what duration.93 Given the complexity of projecting the safety effects of granting an exemption in this instance, it might be desirable to require reporting to validate the agency’s projections and monitor the safety record of the ZEAVs. If the agency were to decide to require reporting, it would take into consideration the possibility that reporting terms sufficient for an early stage of the ZEAV’s normal service life may not be 91 49 U.S.C. 30163(a). page 12. 93 Greenkraft Inc.; Grant of Application for a Temporary Exemption from FMVSS No. 108, 80 FR 12057, 12060 (March 5, 2015). 92 Petition, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 sufficient for a later stage. Because of the anticipated progressive relaxation of operating scenarios, early data might not be predictive of later data. Thus, for the above reasons, and because this is an important case of first impression and petitions for other vehicles with similar ADS are expected in the coming years, NHTSA has set forth below a list of questions to elicit public feedback to aid the agency in determining how to address and resolve the variety of novel and important issues presented in the petition and how to promote, through the setting of terms, the safe operation of such vehicles if the agency ultimately decides to grant an exemption. Please note that answers supported by data and analysis will be given greater weight. GM is also encouraged to submit any supplemental information to the agency that the petitioner may deem persuasive. Commenters are requested to provide specific references to all sources for all studies, data, assumptions, scientific reasoning, and methodology they cite or submit. Statutory Bases for Exemption 1. Which of the two bases for exemption (field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature (30113(b)(3)(B)(ii)) or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle (30113(b)(3)(B)(iii)) identified by GM in its petition is more appropriate for the agency to use in analyzing and in granting or denying the petition and why? 2. If the agency determines that its authority to grant exemptions to facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature is the more appropriate basis under which to evaluate GM’s petition, does the petition provide sufficient information to enable the agency to make the required statutory finding as to whether the level of safety is equivalent to or exceeds the level of safety established in the FMVSS from which exemption is sought? If not, what additional information should the agency seek prior to rendering its final determination and why? 3. If the agency determines that its authority to grant exemptions to facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor vehicle is the more appropriate basis under which to evaluate GM’s petition, does the petition provide sufficient information to enable the agency to determine whether exempting the vehicle would unreasonably degrade the safety of the vehicle? If not, what additional information should the PO 00000 Frm 00170 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10189 agency seek prior to rendering its final determination and why? 4. In lieu of either of the two bases relied upon by GM, would it be more appropriate to consider GM’s petition under 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(iv) (authority to grant exemptions from FMVSS for vehicles with an overall safety level at least equal to the overall safety level of nonexempt vehicles lowemission vehicles)? If so, why? Safety Analyses 5. What studies, data, assumptions, scientific reasoning, and methodologies are needed for the agency to evaluate and compare the ZEAV and a FMVSScompliant non-ADS vehicle? For example, should the agency assess whether an ADS steers, brakes, and accelerates at least as effectively and safely (e.g., as quickly) as the average human driver? If so, what methodology should it use? Are there other approaches to making the safety evaluation and comparison? Please provide specific references to all sources of such tools or evaluation approaches. 6. Given that the ZEAV is expected to evolve over its full-service life, how should the effects of that evolution be taken into consideration in assessing the safety of the exempted vehicle relative to the FMVSS-compliant vehicle? 7. What studies, data, assumptions, scientific reasoning, and methodologies should a petitioner submit to the agency to substantiate its record of research, development, and testing establishing the innovative nature of the safety feature? 8. What studies, data, assumptions, validation test results, scientific reasoning, methodologies, and analyses should a petitioner submit to the agency to validate that its ADS provides safety at least equal to the level of the standards for which an exemption is sought? 9. What studies, data, assumptions, validation test results, scientific reasoning, methodologies, and analyses should a petitioner submit to the agency to validate that its ADS during its operation will have sufficient reliability to accomplish its designed intent, e.g., timely and sufficiently applying the service brakes when braking is needed for safety purposes? 10. The test procedures of some FMVSS listed in the exemption petition involve the use of human drivers and controls (e.g., light vehicle braking). GM indicated that it plans to perform tests with a human driver operating a version of the ZEAV modified to include human controls. Would performance of tests with such a modified vehicle be appropriate, or would programming the E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 10190 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices ADS of the ZEAV to perform test maneuvers be a better means of evaluating compliance with performance requirements? 11. 49 CFR 555.6(b)(iii) requires the petitioner to submit ‘‘results of tests conducted on the safety or impact protection features that demonstrates performance which meets or exceeds the requirements of the standard’’ from which temporary exemption is sought. In the case of a petition submitted for a vehicle that has not yet been produced, and therefore, cannot be tested in order to compare its performance to that of existing vehicles, how should the agency evaluate the safety level of the vehicle? On what preliminary analyses, assumptions, and methodologies should the agency rely to assess whether such performance has been persuasively demonstrated? How would the answers to those questions change if a petitioner could demonstrate that the safety features and systems on the vehicle to be exempted are comparable in performance to those in a non-exempted vehicle and that the addition of the ADS to the vehicle to be exempted did not adversely affect the performance of those safety features and systems? 12. It could be argued that some FMVSS may either not be needed for safety or at least less needed for safety in the case of a vehicle that can be driven by only an ADS. Examples of potentially unnecessary features include inside and outside mirrors as well as the display of images from the rearview camera. Should test results or data be required to justify such an argument? If yes, what would be the most appropriate types of test results or data, and why? 13. GM asserts that a FMVSS that requires telltales to provide drivers with information is not applicable because the ADS would be receiving that information. The agency requests comment on whether and to what extent the telltales might serve a safety purpose for passengers in the vehicle, regardless of whether the information would be transmitted to the ZEAV’s ADS and whether the ADS would act on that information in a timely and appropriate way.94 What weight should the agency give to the extent of the ADS’ ability to respond in appropriate ways to the information it receives? 14. For a FMVSS whose benefits depend, in part, on the attentiveness, judgment, and responsiveness of a human driver (e.g., FMVSS No. 135, which requires that a foot control be 94 See the discussion of ‘‘response states’’ on pages AII–11 through AII–13 of Appendix II of GM’s petition. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 provided to activate service brakes), how should the agency, in considering a petition for the exemption of a vehicle equipped with ADS and with no human driver controls, evaluate the safety effects of substituting an ADS for a human driver? What types of testing and data, and how much, would the agency need to evaluate those effects? 15. Would it be appropriate to use computer simulation as one of the methods to determine equivalent safety? If yes, why and how? If not, why not? Are there adequately validated simulation models that could be used for this purpose? 16. If the ADS is responsible for decision-making aspects of driving that a human driver otherwise would control, is it appropriate for the agency to evaluate the responsiveness and driving skills of the ADS in relation to the component, system, test procedure, or performance requirement from which an FMVSS exemption is sought? If so, how should the agency evaluate the safety of the ADS in different scenarios, e.g., negotiating a path through oncoming traffic when making a left turn, stopping when a pedestrian crosses the vehicle’s path, and yielding to emergency vehicles? What kind of data would be needed for the agency to evaluate the performance of the ADS in these and other scenarios? How should the performance of the ADS be compared to that of a human driver in a nonexempt vehicle? 17. To what extent and how should GM’s contemplated limited deployment (e.g., in a petitioner-controlled rideshare program, with established ODD constraints and the ability to pull vehicles off the street to remedy, including through software updates, any potential safety issues that might arise) be considered when evaluating safety equivalence? Does GM’s continuous control over the exempted vehicles and the ability to make continual improvements in vehicle safety performance through software updates argue for acceptance of a greater degree of uncertainty about safety effects than in the case of a petition for exemption of vehicles to be sold to the public? 18. If some of the constraints of the ZEAV’s initial deployment would eventually be progressively relaxed by GM, what types of data should the agency use in evaluating the safety of the ZEAV over its lifetime and deciding whether to grant or deny the petition? If an exemption is granted, should the agency monitor and periodically validate these data throughout the ZEAV’s service life? 19. NHTSA requests comment on how NHTSA should evaluate whether PO 00000 Frm 00171 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 granting this exemption would be consistent with the ‘‘public interest’’ and the Vehicle Safety Act. What elements of the public interest and the Act would be most important in that evaluation? 20. In the absence of real-world demonstration of quality of the decision-making by the ZEAV’s ADS, if the petition were to be granted, what terms and conditions, if any, should the agency place on the exemption, and any similar future requests, to protect public safety, facilitate agency efforts to monitor the operations of exempted vehicles, and maximize the learning opportunities presented by the on-road experience of the exempted vehicles during the exemption period and thereafter? 21. Should NHTSA consider how the ZEAV would respond if it needed to deal with an unusual situation, e.g., cross the yellow line to pass a stopped vehicle blocking the way forward for a prolonged period of time or obey a policeman giving instructions instead of obeying a traffic light? Terms and Conditions 22. Please comment on the potential utility of NHTSA’s placing terms and conditions on an exemption requiring the submission of the following categories of data: a. Statistics on use (e.g., for each functional class of roads, the number of miles, speed, hours of operation, climate/weather and related road surface conditions). b. Statistics and other information on performance (e.g., type, number, and causes, and results of collisions or near misses, disengagements, and transitions to fallback mechanisms, if appropriate). How can the term ‘‘near miss’’ best be defined so that there is uniform understanding of the term and consistent practices across all manufacturers in the identifying and reporting of ‘‘near misses’’? c. Metrics that the manufacturer is tracking to identify and respond to progress toward higher levels of safety (e.g., miles without a crash and software updates that increase the ODD). d. Information related to community, driver and pedestrian awareness, behavior, concerns, and acceptance related to vehicles with an ADS. e. Metrics or information concerning the durability of the ADS equipment and calibration, and need for maintenance of the ADS. For example, would the ADS work in all identified operating conditions or would there be additional limitations? How would any limitations be addressed and managed? E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 53 / Tuesday, March 19, 2019 / Notices f. Data and information on the initial and subsequent ODDs and software updates. g. For all categories of information, how should any concerns about confidential business information and privacy be addressed? 23. If there would be other categories of data that should be considered, please identify them and the purposes for which they would be useful to the agency in carrying out its responsibilities under the Safety Act. 24. If the agency were to require the reporting of data, for what period should the agency require it to be reported—the two-year exemption period or the ZEAVs’ entire normal service life? 25. Given estimates that vehicles with high and full driving automation would generate terabytes of data per vehicle per day, how should the need for data be appropriately balanced with the burden on manufacturers of providing and maintaining it and with the ability of the agency to absorb and use it effectively? 26. If supporting information (including analysis, methodology, data, and computer simulation results involving proprietary systems or specialized computer programs) is submitted by a petitioner under a request for confidential treatment and relied upon by the agency in its determination whether to grant or deny a petition, how can the public be provided with an evaluation and a justification for the determination that are transparent, readily understandable and persuasive? 27. Are there any mechanisms that may help further mitigate the underlying safety risks, if any, presented by this petition? For example, what additional safety and engineering redundancies, if any, should NHTSA consider requiring as a condition to granting the exemption? 28. Over the history of the Agency, exemption petitions based on some form of safety analysis, as opposed to the much more common type of petition based on a claim of economic hardship, have averaged only 1–2 per year. Typically, these safety-based petitions have involved technologies that affect only a single vehicle function or at least a very narrow range of functions and that were well described and tested. Such petitions were resolved by the Agency’s either granting or denying them after soliciting and considering public comments. In some cases, the Agency sent requests to the applicant for additional test data. In most cases, this second group of petitions were either granted or denied, again after VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Mar 18, 2019 Jkt 247001 public comment. In a few instances, the petition remained as ‘‘pending.’’ In our current innovative environment, such an approach presents challenges for technologies, e.g., automated driving systems for vehicles without manual driving controls, that affect a broad range of functions and that have not been developed sufficiently to incorporate them in vehicles in order to generate the realworld test data that has typically been required for granting petitions. The lack of real-world test data could result in lengthy delays and even non-approval. To address this problem, NHTSA solicits public comment on alternative approaches to analyzing and resolving petitions for exemption from FMVSS in a timely and appropriate way, including but not limited to: —After public comment, exercising our discretion to rely upon other forms of evidence in making the statutorily required findings quickly for petitions related to technology with significant lifesaving potential to allow for expedited approval for testing and development of a very limited number of vehicles 95 under well-defined, risk-managed conditions; —Deny petitions if applicants are unable to respond adequately to NHTSA requests for further information within a specified time period; —For vehicles that would be deployed only within very limited operating areas, go beyond seeking public comment by hosting public meetings or otherwise providing for targeted and transparent public engagement in the intended geographical operating area to allow for full and transparent public discussion of novel safety issues and concerns, emergency response considerations, or other issues of interest to state and local stakeholders regarding the exemption requested and relevant to NHTSA’s review of the petition; —Any other options to process petitions in a way that is timely, transparent and supportive of the safety goals of the FMVSS from which exemption is sought. VII. Comment Period Because of the novelty and complexity of the petition, the agency is providing a 60-day comment period. After considering public comments and other available information, NHTSA will publish a notice of final action on the petition in the Federal Register. 95 E.g., a number significantly less than the 2,500 vehicles per year authorized by 49 U.S.C. 30113. PO 00000 Frm 00172 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10191 Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically check the Docket for new material. You can arrange with the docket to be notified when others file comments in the docket. See www.regulations.gov for more information. We will reopen or extend the comment period for this petition, as needed. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30113 and 49 U.S.C. 30166; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8. Issued in Washington, DC under authority delegated pursuant to 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8. Heidi R. King, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–05119 Filed 3–18–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Office of the Secretary [Docket No. DOT–OST–2018–0190] Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee Matters; Subcommittee on In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Office of the Secretary (‘‘OST’’), Department of Transportation (‘‘DOT’’). ACTION: Notice of rescheduled first meeting of the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee. AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Transportation has rescheduled the previously announced January 16, 2019, meeting of the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (‘‘ACPAC’’ or ‘‘Committee’’). The new date for the first meeting of the reestablished ACPAC is April 4, 2019. The meeting will be held in the Media Center (located on the lobby level of the West Building) at the U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590. Three topics will be discussed at that meeting—establishment of the National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force (‘‘Task Force’’) (including the tasks to be carried out by the Task Force); transparency of airline ancillary service fees; and involuntary changes to travel itineraries. DATES: The first meeting of the reestablished ACPAC will be held on April 4, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19MRN1.SGM 19MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 53 (Tuesday, March 19, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 10182-10191]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-05119]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2019-0016]


General Motors, LLC--Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption 
From Various Requirements of the Safety Standards for an All-Electric 
Vehicle With an Automated Driving System

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of receipt of petition for temporary exemption; request 
for public comment.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the procedures in the Temporary Exemption 
from Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, General Motors, LLC, 
(GM) has applied for a temporary exemption for its driverless ``Zero-
Emission Autonomous Vehicle'' (ZEAV), an all-electric vehicle with an 
Automated Driving System (ADS), from part of each of 16 Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The ZEAVs would not be equipped with 
a steering wheel, manually-operated gear selection mechanism, or foot 
pedals for braking and accelerating. If the requested exemption were 
granted, GM would use the ZEAVs to provide on-demand mobility services 
in GM-controlled fleets.
    GM requests the exemption be granted on either or both of two 
statutory bases: That it would facilitate the development or field 
evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a level of 
safety at least equal to those of FMVSS from which exemption is 
requested, or that it would facilitate the development or field 
evaluation of a low-emission vehicle without unreasonably lowering the 
safety performance of the vehicle.
    NHTSA seeks comment on the merits of and most appropriate statutory 
basis for GM's exemption petition and whether the petition satisfies 
the substantive requirements for an exemption.
    NHTSA will assess the merits of the petition after receiving and 
considering the public comments on this notice, the petition, public 
responses to the questions in this notice, and any additional 
information that might be forthcoming from GM.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 20, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Wood or Justine Casselle, 
Office of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. 
Telephone: 202-366-2992; Fax: 202-366-3820.
    Comments: NHTSA invites you to submit comments on the petition 
described herein and the questions posed below. You may submit comments 
identified by docket number in the heading of this notice by any of the 
following methods:
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
     Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, 
DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building 
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name 
and docket number. Note that all comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below. 
NHTSA will consider all comments received before the close of business 
on the comment closing date indicated above. To the extent possible, 
NHTSA will also consider comments filed after the closing date.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal Holidays. Telephone: 202-366-9826.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as 
described in the system of records notice, DOT/ALL-14 FDMS, accessible 
through www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking 
and response, we encourage commenters to provide their name, or the 
name of their organization; however, submission of names is completely 
optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely 
comments will be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments 
containing proprietary or confidential information, please contact the 
agency for alternate submission instructions.
    Confidential Business Information: If you wish to submit any 
information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three 
copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim 
to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, 
at the address given under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In 
addition, you should submit two copies, from which you have deleted the 
claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the 
address given above. When you send a comment containing information 
claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a 
cover letter setting forth the information specified in our 
confidential business information regulation (49 CFR part 512).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Authority and Procedures for Temporary Exemptions
III. GM's Petition
    A. Zero Emission Automated Vehicle
    i. Parent Vehicle--Chevrolet Bolt
    ii. Comparison of Bolt and ZEAV
    iii. Planned Usage of the ZEAV
    B. Safety Showing
    i. FMVSS No. 101
    ii. FMVSS No. 102
    iii. FMVSS No. 108
    iv. FMVSS No. 111
    v. FMVSS No. 114
    vi. FMVSS No. 124
    vii. FMVSS No. 126
    viii. FMVSS No. 135
    ix. FMVSS No. 138
    x. FMVSS No. 141
    xi. FMVSS Nos. 203, 204 and 207
    xii. FMVSS No. 208
    xiii. FMVSS No. 214
    xiv. FMVSS No. 226
    C. Low-Emission Showing
    D. Public Interest Argument
    E. Appendices
    F. Clarification
IV. Agency's Review of GM's Petition
V. Potential Types of Terms
VI. Request for Comments and Information
VII. Comment Period

[[Page 10183]]

I. Background

    One of the key tasks of NHTSA, the agency responsible for issuing 
and enforcing the existing FMVSS, in getting ready for ADS vehicles is 
to ensure that those standards do not impose unnecessary obstacles to 
those vehicles. Most existing FMVSS were drafted years ago, based on 
the assumption that each vehicle would have a human driver who needs 
controls for manually operating the vehicle, information about the 
vehicle's operating condition, and a clear view in all directions of 
the driving environment in all weather and lighting conditions. While 
many of the existing FMVSS need to be updated so that they are 
appropriate for vehicles with modern technologies, they do not pose 
barriers to the manufacturing today of dual mode ADS vehicles, i.e., 
ADS vehicles designed to be driven either by an ADS or a human driver. 
Some of them could, however, pose barriers to ADS vehicles designed to 
be driven exclusively by an ADS.
    NHTSA can address the needs of exclusively ADS vehicles in 
different ways, depending on the time frame. In the longer term, it can 
conduct research on how to update the performance requirements and test 
procedures and then initiate rulemaking proceedings to modernize the 
FMVSS. In the near term, the agency can, if needed and merited, grant, 
in whole or in part, petitions from vehicle manufacturers to exempt 
limited numbers of their vehicles from select FMVSS so that the 
manufacturers can gain additional on-road experience. While established 
vehicle manufacturers can conduct on-road tests to evaluate their 
vehicles without first obtaining an exemption, if they wish to mix such 
testing with operations involving transporting the public, exemptions 
may, to that extent, be necessary.
    In January 2018, GM submitted such a petition for the ZEAV, a 
vehicle designed to be driven exclusively by an ADS. GM requested the 
vehicle's temporary exemption from parts of each of 16 FMVSS.
    This notice accomplishes two things. First, it serves as a notice 
of receipt of GM's petition. Second, it requests (a) comments on the 
petition and the discussion in this notice and (b) responses to a 
series of questions related to the petition.
    While the analysis of exemption petitions based on rationales other 
than economic hardship generally involves comparing the relative safety 
of exempted vehicles and nonexempted vehicles, this is the first 
petition whose analysis by NHTSA will involve a comparison of (1) a 
vehicle in which all driving decisions as to when and how it is 
appropriate to use crash avoidance technologies and take actions to 
implement those decisions would be made by an ADS to (2) a vehicle in 
which almost all of those decisions are made and implemented by a human 
driver. This difference could affect the amount of safety benefits 
generated by Federally-mandated safety technologies.
    Because this is an important case of first impression and because 
other petitions for the exemption of other vehicles with ADS are 
expected in the coming years, NHTSA believes that inclusion of the list 
of questions is necessary to inform the public about the novel and 
important issues presented by this petition and to elicit public 
feedback to aid the agency in determining how to address and resolve 
those issues. The feedback will also aid the agency, if it partially or 
fully grants an exemption, in determining how to promote, through the 
setting of terms and monitoring GM's adherence to them, the safe 
operation of GM's ZEAVs.

II. Authority and Procedures for Temporary Exemptions

    Chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, authorizes the 
Secretary of Transportation to exempt, on a temporary basis, under 
specified circumstances, and on terms the Secretary deems appropriate, 
motor vehicles from a FMVSS or bumper standard. This authority is set 
forth at 49 U.S.C. 30113. The Secretary has delegated the authority for 
implementing this section to NHTSA.\1\
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    \1\ 49 CFR 1.94.
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    The Safety Act authorizes the Secretary to grant, in whole or in 
part, a temporary exemption to a vehicle manufacturer if the Secretary 
makes specified findings. The Secretary must look comprehensively at 
the request for exemption and find that the exemption is consistent 
with the public interest and with the objectives of the Vehicle Safety 
Act.\2\ In addition, the Secretary must make one of the following more 
focused findings:
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    \2\ 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(A).

    (i) compliance with the standard[s] [from which exemption is 
sought] would cause substantial economic hardship to a manufacturer 
that has tried to comply with the standard[s] in good faith;
    (ii) the exemption would make easier the development or field 
evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a safety 
level at least equal to the safety level of the standard;
    (iii) the exemption would make the development or field 
evaluation of a low-emission motor vehicle easier and would not 
unreasonably lower the safety level of that vehicle; or
    (iv) compliance with the standard would prevent the manufacturer 
from selling a motor vehicle with an overall safety level at least 
equal to the overall safety level of nonexempt vehicles.\3\
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    \3\ 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B).

    The second and third of these additional findings are the bases for 
GM's request for exemption. First, GM requests the Secretary to grant 
its petition based on finding that an exemption is consistent with the 
public interest and with the Safety Act, and that the exemption would 
make easier the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle 
safety feature providing a safety level at least equal to the safety 
level of the standard.\4\ Second, GM requests the Secretary to grant 
its petition on finding that the exemption is consistent with the 
public interest and with the Safety Act, and that the exemption would 
facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor 
vehicle and would not unreasonably reduce the safety of that 
vehicle.\5\
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    \4\ 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(ii).
    \5\ 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(iii).
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    NHTSA established 49 CFR part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor 
Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory 
provisions concerning temporary exemptions. The requirements in 49 CFR 
555.5 state that the petitioner must set forth the basis of the 
petition by providing the information required under 49 CFR 555.6, and 
the reasons why the exemption would be in the public interest and 
consistent with the objectives of the Safety Act.
    A petition justified on the basis that an exemption from a FMVSS 
would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor 
vehicle safety feature providing a level of safety at least equal to 
the level of safety required by the standard must include the following 
information specified in 49 CFR 555.6(b):

    (1) A description of the safety features, and research, 
development, and testing documentation establishing the innovational 
nature of such features;
    (2) An analysis establishing that the level of safety of the 
feature is equivalent to or exceeds the level of safety established 
in the standard from which exemption is sought;
    (i) A detailed description of how a vehicle equipped with the 
safety or impact protection feature differs from one that complies 
with the standard;
    (ii) If applicant is presently manufacturing a vehicle 
conforming to the standard, the results of tests conducted to 
substantiate certification to the standard; and

[[Page 10184]]

    (iii) The results of tests conducted on the safety or impact 
protection features that demonstrates performance which meets or 
exceeds the requirements of the standard.
    (3) Substantiation that a temporary exemption would facilitate 
the development or field evaluation of the vehicle;
    (4) A statement whether, at the end of the exemption period, the 
manufacturer intends to conform to the standard, apply for a further 
exemption, or petition for rulemaking to amend the standard to 
incorporate the safety features; and
    (5) A statement that not more than 2,500 exempted vehicles will 
be sold in the United States in any 12-month period for which an 
exemption may be granted pursuant to this paragraph.

    A petition justified on the basis that an exemption would 
facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor 
vehicle and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of that 
vehicle must include the following information specified in 49 CFR 
555.6(c):

    (1) Substantiation that the vehicle is a low-emission vehicle;
    (2) Research, development, and testing documentation 
establishing that a temporary exemption would not unreasonably 
degrade the safety or impact protection of the vehicle;
    (i) A detailed description of how the motor vehicle equipped 
with the low-emission engine would, if exempted, differ from one 
that complies with the standard;
    (ii) If the applicant is presently manufacturing a vehicle 
conforming to the standard, the results of tests conducted to 
substantiate certification to the standard;
    (iii) The results of any tests conducted on the vehicle that 
demonstrate its failure to meet the standard, expressed as 
comparative performance levels; and
    (iv) Reasons why the failure to meet the standard does not 
unreasonably degrade the safety or impact protection of the vehicle.
    (3) Substantiation that a temporary exemption would facilitate 
the development or field evaluation of the vehicle; and
    (4) A statement of whether the petitioner intends to conform to 
the standard at the end of the exemption period; and
    (5) A statement that not more than 2,500 exempted vehicles will 
be sold in the U.S. in any 12-month period for which an exemption 
may be granted.

III. GM's Petition

    GM's petition seeks a two-year exemption from parts of each of 16 
FMVSS for the production of 2500 or fewer ZEAVs per year.\6\ Citing a 
report by Nidhi Kalra and David G. Groves,\7\ GM argues ``(e)very day 
of delay in getting autonomous vehicles safely on American Roads is a 
day in which we are losing lives that could be saved.'' GM states that, 
during the exemption period, it would work with NHTSA and industry 
stakeholders on rulemaking to address autonomous vehicle technology.\8\ 
GM states that if that rulemaking were not completed during the two-
year exemption period, it would likely request a renewal of the 
exemption.\9\ It also states that (if its petition were granted) it 
would operate any ZEAVs produced during the exemption period throughout 
their normal service life \10\--i.e., well beyond the two-year 
exemption period.
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    \6\ GM Petition at 3.
    \7\ The Enemy of Good, Estimating the Cost of Waiting for Nearly 
Perfect Automated Vehicles, Rand Corp. (2017), available at https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2150.html.
    \8\ GM Petition at 38.
    \9\ Id.
    \10\ Id.
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    GM provides the following explanation of how it organized the 
arguments in its petition:

    GM seeks an ``exemption'' under two separate statutory 
provisions, 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(ii) and (iii). As this Petition 
makes clear, ``exemption'' is a term of art that is a misnomer in 
this context because GM does not seek to be ``exempted'' from any 
safety requirements. Rather, through this Petition, GM seeks 
authorization to satisfy the safety purpose and intent of certain 
FMVSS requirements and tests through different designs and systems. 
Because the ZEAV satisfies the requirements of both provisions, 
NHTSA may grant this Petition under either or both provisions.
    First, under 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3), NHTSA may issue an FMVSS 
exemption ``on finding that--(A) an exemption is consistent with the 
public interest and this chapter or chapter 325 of this title (as 
applicable); and (B) . . . the exemption would make the development 
or field evaluation of a low[hyphen]emission motor vehicle easier 
and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of that vehicle.'' 
Thus, in order to justify an exemption, a petition under this 
provision must support three primary showings: The public interest 
showing; the low[hyphen]emission showing; and the safety showing, as 
set forth in 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(iii). These provisions of 
30113(b)(3)(B)(iii) foster the same goals that GM pursues with this 
application: the development and prompt availability of new 
low[hyphen]emission vehicles that improve consumer mobility and meet 
federal safety objectives embodied in the Safety Act. As 
demonstrated below, granting this Petition would make easier the 
development and field evaluation of GM's zero[hyphen]emission 
autonomous vehicle, and GM's proposed deployment program fully 
satisfies the three requirements of 30113(b)(3)(B)(iii).
    Second, this Petition also seeks an exemption on the independent 
basis that it will ``make easier the development [and] field 
evaluation of new motor vehicle safety features.'' Under 49 U.S.C. 
30113(b)(3), NHTSA may also issue an exemption ``on finding that--
(A) an exemption is consistent with the public interest and this 
chapter or chapter 325 of this title (as applicable); and (B) . . . 
the exemption would make easier the development or field evaluation 
of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a safety level at 
least equal to the safety level of the standard.'' Thus, under this 
provision, the Petition must support three primary showings: the 
public interest showing; the development and evaluation of a new 
safety feature showing; and the FMVSS safety showing, as set forth 
in 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3)(B)(ii).
    The discussion below supports findings that GM's proposed ZEAV 
deployment fully satisfies the three criteria of both 
30113(b)(3)(B)(ii) and (iii), and that NHTSA should therefore grant 
the Petition.
    In furtherance of this Petition, the discussion below contains:

A description of GM's ZEAV program and the vehicle;
A discussion of how the Petition should be evaluated under the 
Safety Act and NHTSA's regulations and procedures;
A Standard[hyphen]by[hyphen]Standard description of how GM's ZEAV 
achieves the safety purposes of the affected human[hyphen]driver 
based FMVSS requirements;
An explanation of how granting this Petition will facilitate the 
development and field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle;
A discussion of how granting this Petition will benefit the public 
interest; and
A discussion of GM's plans for compliance with applicable FMVSS 
during and after the effective dates of the proposed exemption.

(Footnotes omitted.)

A. Zero Emission Automated Vehicle

i. Parent Vehicle--Chevrolet Bolt
    The ZEAV would be built from the architecture of the Chevrolet Bolt 
EV.\11\ GM describes its Bolt EV as a zero-emission vehicle, with an 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated all-electric range of 
238 miles on a full charge.\12\ The company states it created the 
original prototypes for the ZEAV by retrofitting Bolt EVs with 
autonomous controls and equipment.\13\
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    \11\ Id. at 7.
    \12\ Id. at 7 and FN 11.
    \13\ Id. at 8.
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ii. Comparison of Bolt and ZEAV
    The Bolt EV and the ZEAV are both all-electric vehicles. GM did not 
indicate whether the motor and battery pack of the ZEAV would differ in 
any significant way from those of the Bolt EV. GM notes that the ZEAV 
would have electrification innovations incorporated from the Bolt EV, 
but does not elaborate on the nature, extent or importance of those 
innovations.\14\
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    \14\ Id. at 7.
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    As discussed later in this notice, GM notes that the ZEAV's high-
performance computer system and array of sensors would draw power from 
the power supply for the zero-emission propulsion system, potentially 
affecting the range of the ZEAV. GM states that the all-electric

[[Page 10185]]

range of the ZEAV has not yet been determined.
    There are significant differences between the Bolt EV and the ZEAV 
with respect to how they are designed to be driven and how safety 
systems would be activated. The Bolt EV is exclusively driven by a 
human driver. In contrast, the ZEAV would be exclusively driven by an 
ADS. More specifically, in relation to the SAE International Levels of 
Automation 3-5--Automated Driving Systems (ADSs)--Conditional, High, 
and Full Automation,\15\ the Bolt EV's highest driving automation 
capability would be considered to be at automation Level 0 \16\ and the 
ZEAV's capability at driving automation Level 4.\17\
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    \15\ SAE J3016_201806 Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related 
to Driving Automation Systems for On-Road Motor Vehicles.
    \16\ No Automation of driving task: While the vehicle may 
provide warnings (e.g., forward collision warning and blind-spot 
warning), the human driver must in all conditions and at all times 
perform all aspects of the driving task like monitoring the driving 
environment, steering, braking and accelerating.
    \17\ Full Driving Automation: The vehicle can perform all 
aspects of the driving task at all times and under all conditions. 
While the human occupants need to set the trip destination and start 
the ADS, they need never be involved in any aspects of the driving 
task.
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    The ZEAV's ADS would be a combination of various hardware and 
software components that function as a system to perform functions 
traditionally performed by human drivers, i.e., perceive and interpret 
the driving environment, the objects in that environment, and their 
likely future movement, make decisions about accelerating, braking and 
steering so as to select and navigate safe paths through that 
environment and around those objects, and implement those decisions. 
While the Bolt EV is equipped with a steering wheel and brake and 
accelerator pedals, among other manual controls, the ZEAV would have 
none of these components. To emphasize this point, GM notes: ``By 
removing human input from the formula, these changes provide the safety 
advantages of autonomous transportation while ensuring that passengers 
cannot interfere, purposefully or inadvertently, with the safe 
operation of the vehicle.'' \18\ These differences are further 
described in Appendix II of the petition. GM suggests that these 
differences might affect the range of the ZEAV.\19\
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    \18\ GM Petition at 12.
    \19\ Id.at 34.
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iii. Planned Usage of the ZEAV
    GM states that if it were granted an exemption, it would deploy the 
ZEAVs in a GM-controlled rideshare program.\20\ This approach would, GM 
says, allow it to ``closely monitor and address safety in every ZEAV 
deployed.'' \21\ If an incident were to occur, GM states it ``could 
promptly analyze the situation in depth and address it.'' \22\ 
According to GM, ``common factors such as human driver behavior, 
consumer failure to maintain the vehicle, and consumer failure to 
repair the vehicle or obtain recall repairs will not be factors for the 
safety of GM[hyphen]maintained[hyphen]and[hyphen]operated ZEAV 
fleets.'' \23\
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    \20\ Id.at 5.
    \21\ Id. at 21.
    \22\ Id.
    \23\ Id. at 22.
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    GM says that the operations of the ZEAVs would be carefully 
circumscribed, stating:

    GM's ZEAV fleet will operate only within defined geographic 
boundaries, and limited to predefined speeds and weather conditions. 
GM's limitations on the operation of its ZEAV fleet will enhance 
safety--limited speeds eliminate events due to driving above the 
speed limit, and weather restrictions reduce occurrences of safety 
system activations due to weather-related road conditions. GM's 
program parameters will reduce the number of miles that the ZEAVs 
will be driven in higher-risk situations, so the ZEAV is not likely 
to encounter many of the risk scenarios that other vehicles 
encounter.\24\
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    \24\ Id. at 13.
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and:

    The vehicles will drive only in pre-mapped areas for which GM 
fully understands the infrastructure and conditions that the 
vehicles will encounter.\25\
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    \25\ GM Petition, Appendix III at 19.

    GM notes, however, that while the ZEAVs would have 
not[hyphen]to[hyphen]exceed speeds, GM expects to increase their 
``not[hyphen]to[hyphen]exceed speeds'' during the requested two-year 
exemption period.\26\ GM further notes that while GM's ZEAVs would be 
weather restricted, GM expects to expand its operational design domain 
(ODD) for rain, snow, and winter driving during the proposed exemption 
period. GM does not address what additional changes, if any, it might 
make after that period.
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    \26\ GM Petition at 21.
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B. Safety Showing

    In support of both statutory bases cited in its petition for an 
exemption, GM asserts that, for each of the 16 FMVSS from which it 
seeks temporary exemption, in part or in full, the ZEAVs would 
``effectively meet all FMVSS safety requirements'' and would provide a 
safety level at least equal to the safety level of the affected 
standard(s) as required by statute.\27\ In order to deploy the ZEAVs, 
GM seeks a temporary exemption from the following FMVSS, either in 
whole or in part: No. 101, Controls and Displays; No. 102, Transmission 
Shift Position Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking 
Effect; No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment; 
No. 111, Rearview Mirrors; No. 114, Theft Protection and Rollaway 
Prevention; No. 124, Accelerator Control Systems; No. 126, Electronic 
Stability Control Systems; No. 135, Light Vehicle Brake Systems; No. 
138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems; No. 141, Minimum Sound 
Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles; No. 203, Impact 
Protection for the Driver from the Steering Control System; No. 204, 
Steering Control Rearward Displacement; No. 207, Seating Systems; No. 
208, Occupant Crash Protection; No. 214, Side Impact Protection; and 
No. 226, Ejection Mitigation.
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    \27\ Id. at 33.
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    The following paragraphs paraphrase how the GM petition discusses 
each standard from which GM seeks exemption:
i. FMVSS No. 101
    The purpose of FMVSS No. 101 is ``to ensure the accessibility, 
visibility and recognition of motor vehicle controls, telltales and 
indicators, and to facilitate the proper selection of controls. . .'' 
in order to reduce safety hazards caused by the diversion of the 
driver's attention from the driving task and mistakes by the driver in 
selecting controls.\28\ Because the ZEAV would not be equipped with 
human driver controls and would not have a human driver, GM states that 
the requirements for certain controls, telltales and indicators should 
not apply \29\ and requests an exemption from them. GM further states 
that, instead, its vehicle would be equipped with functionally 
equivalent ADS interfaces that provide the ADS with access to the 
information and controls necessary to drive the vehicle and maintain 
safety.\30\
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    \28\ 49 CFR 571.101, paragraph S2.
    \29\ GM Petition at 23-24.
    \30\ Id. at 24.
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ii. FMVSS No. 102
    FMVSS No. 102 specifies requirements for transmission shift 
position sequence, starter interlock, and transmission braking effect. 
The purpose of these requirements is to reduce the likelihood of 
shifting errors, to prevent starter engagement by the driver when the 
transmission is in a drive position, and to provide supplemental 
braking at speeds below 25 mph. Paragraph S3.1.4 and its

[[Page 10186]]

subparagraphs require that identification of shift positions and shift 
position sequence be displayed in view of the driver. GM states that 
the ZEAV would not have a human driver, the information would be 
provided electronically to its ADS. GM further states that its vehicle 
would meet all other requirements of this standard.
iii. FMVSS No. 108
    FMVSS No. 108 was established to provide adequate illumination of 
the roadway and to enhance the conspicuity of motor vehicles so that 
their presence is perceived by other roadway users and signals 
understood in daylight, darkness and reduced visibility.\31\ GM 
explains that the ZEAV would use radar and lidar and would not rely on 
visible light and, therefore, operation of headlamp switches as 
required by the standard would be unnecessary.\32\ GM explains that the 
vehicle would continue to use ordinary lower beams, but would not use 
upper beams.\33\ GM further explains that the ZEAV would have 
``interfaces that allow the ADS to receive, monitor, and analyze 
information otherwise provided by the telltales and indicators related 
to turn signals and headlamps, and to issue commands to control the 
headlamps and turn signals.'' \34\
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    \31\ 49 CFR 571.108, paragraph S2.
    \32\ GM Petition at 25.
    \33\ Id.
    \34\ Id.
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iv. FMVSS No. 111
    FMVSS No. 111 pertains to rearview visibility and requires rearview 
mirrors and images to provide a driver with a clear and reasonably 
unobstructed view to the rear. GM states that the ZEAV would include 
``rear-facing cameras, radar sensors, and lidars that continuously 
provide full rear-field-of-view information to the ADS.'' \35\ GM 
further states that its vehicle would have sensors that provide 
overlapping coverage and environmental information to the ADS, allowing 
it to perceive the vehicle's surroundings in ``significantly more 
breadth and detail than interior and exterior rearview mirrors provide 
to human drivers.'' \36\
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    \35\ Id. at 26.
    \36\ Id.
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v. FMVSS No. 114
    GM asserts although the ZEAV would comply with the performance 
requirements of FMVSS No. 114, the test procedures in paragraph S6 
should not apply and requests an exemption.\37\ GM explains that its 
vehicle would not have conventional controls for the parking brake, 
service brake or transmission gear selection.\38\ GM further explains 
that the ZEAV would be designed to enable the ADS to determine and 
control the brake system status electronically.\39\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ Id. at 26.
    \38\ Id.
    \39\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

vi. FMVSS No. 124
    FMVSS No. 124 requires the return of the throttle to the idle 
position when the driver removes actuating force from the accelerator 
control (or if the accelerator control system is disconnected). GM 
states that the ADS would be the driver in the ZEAV, and therefore, the 
ADS would regulate vehicle propulsion.\40\ As a result, GM suggests 
that FMVSS No. 124 should not apply and requests as exemption.\41\ GM 
explains that its ADS would include two independent software controls 
that establish vehicle propulsion and asserts that its system could 
satisfy the time and temperature requirements of this standard.\42\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ Id. at 27.
    \41\ Id.
    \42\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

vii. FMVSS No. 126
    The purpose of FMVSS No. 126 is to prevent driver loss of 
directional control, including loss of control resulting in vehicle 
rollover.\43\ GM states that the ZEAV would have an Electronic 
Stability Control (ESC) system functionally similar to that of the Bolt 
EV.\44\ However, the ZEAV would not have a steering wheel, brake or 
accelerator pedals, and could not be tested pursuant to paragraph S5.2 
and paragraphs S7.6 through S7.9.\45\ The ADS would electronically 
interface with the steering, braking and accelerator control 
systems.\46\ Because there would be no human driver, GM also states 
that it would not meet the telltale requirements or related test 
protocols of paragraphs S5.3, S7.2, S7.3, S7.8 and S7.10.\47\ GM 
asserts that it would ``run tests to ascertain the full functionality 
of the ESC system'' before deployment.\48\ To do so, GM explains that 
it would use test versions of ZEAVs that differ from the vehicles 
described in this petition and that would be equipped with standard 
human driving controls (including steering, accelerator and brake 
controls).\49\ GM asserts that its vehicle would meet the safety intent 
of this standard and states that it would certify compliance with the 
performance requirements of this standard based on the above described 
tests.\50\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ 49 CFR 571.126, paragraph S2.
    \44\ GM Petition at 27.
    \45\ Id.
    \46\ Id.
    \47\ Id.
    \48\ Id.
    \49\ GM Petition, Appendix II at 15.
    \50\ GM Petition at 27 and Appendix II at 15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

viii. FMVSS No. 135
    FMVSS No. 135 was established to ensure safe braking performance 
under normal and emergency driving conditions.\51\ In GM's ZEAV, the 
ADS would control braking through commands to the brake control module 
as the vehicle would not be equipped with an accelerator pedal, a 
service brake pedal, or manual parking brake controls.\52\ For that 
reason, GM states that human control requirements of paragraph S5.3.1, 
the telltale requirements of paragraphs S5.1.2, S5.5, S5.5.5, and the 
tests in paragraph S7 are not applicable and requests an exemption.\53\ 
GM asserts that, because of the ADS, the vehicle would meet the 
performance requirements of this standard and the vehicle's braking 
system would satisfy the stopping distance and grade-holding 
performance requirements of this standard.\54\ GM further asserts that 
its vehicle would undergo brake testing to demonstrate it meets the 
performance requirements before deployment.\55\ To do so, GM would use 
test versions of ZEAVs that differ from the vehicles described in this 
petition in that they would be equipped with standard human driving 
controls (including steering, accelerator and brake controls).\56\ GM 
states that it intends to certify compliance with the performance 
requirements of this standard based on those tests.\57\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ 49 CFR 571.135, paragraph S2.
    \52\ GM Petition at 28.
    \53\ Id.
    \54\ Id.
    \55\ Id.
    \56\ GM Petition, Appendix II at 15.
    \57\ GM Petition, Appendix II at 15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ix. FMVSS No. 138
    FMVSS No. 138 specifies requirements for tire pressure monitoring 
systems to warn drivers of underinflation of tires and the resulting 
safety problems. Paragraphs S4.3 and S4.4 require telltales visible to 
the driver. GM explains that the ZEAV would not have a driver seating 
position and would not include tire pressure telltales visible to 
vehicle occupants.\58\ Instead, the vehicle's ADS would monitor the 
tire pressure electronically, detect low pressure, and recognize 
malfunctions in the tire pressure monitoring system.\59\ To help in 
controlling the maintenance and operation of vehicle fleets, the ADS

[[Page 10187]]

would communicate tire pressure status to GM.\60\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \58\ GM Petition at 29.
    \59\ Id.
    \60\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

x. FMVSS No. 141
    FMVSS No. 141 specifies minimum requirements for hybrid and 
electric vehicles to reduce injuries resulting from collisions with 
pedestrians by providing a sound with the loudness and characteristics 
necessary for the vehicles to be detected and recognized as vehicles by 
pedestrians. GM asserts that it would test and certify its vehicle to 
meet this standard, but the ZEAV would not have a human-controlled gear 
selector to demonstrate compliance with paragraph S5 of this standard 
(which requires sounds to be produced when the gear selector is moved 
to the ``drive'' position or other forward gear).\61\ GM explains that 
the ZEAV's ADS would communicate with the gear selector control 
actuators, and in response, trigger the sound emission performance 
required by this standard.\62\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \61\ GM Petition at 29.
    \62\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

xi. FMVSS Nos. 203, 204 and 207
    FMVSS Nos. 203 and 204 relate to impact protection for the driver 
from a vehicle's steering control system (steering wheel and steering 
column) in the event of a crash. GM states that the ZEAV would not be 
equipped with a steering wheel or steering column; therefore, there is 
no risk of chest, neck or facial injury being caused by either.\63\ GM 
asserts that computer simulation crash tests and subsequent physical 
crash tests would validate occupant protection for all seating 
positions.\64\ Additionally, GM asserts that these tests would verify 
that ``the left front seating position safety protection provides 
occupant protection comparable to that provided to the right front seat 
passenger.'' \65\ For these same reasons, and because there would not 
be a human driver, GM asserts that the FMVSS No. 207 requirement to 
have a seat for the driver also should not apply and requests an 
exemption.\66\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \63\ Id. at 29-30.
    \64\ Id. at 30.
    \65\ Id.
    \66\ Id. FMVSS No. 207 establishes requirements for seats, 
attachment assemblies and their installation to minimize the 
possibility of failure resulting from vehicle impact in a crash.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

xii. FMVSS No. 208
    GM makes the same assertion for certain paragraphs of FMVSS No. 
208, which specifies test procedures and requirements for the driver's 
seating position. The purpose of this standard is to reduce the number 
of deaths and the severity of injuries by specifying vehicle 
crashworthiness and equipment requirements. Some paragraphs within this 
standard refer to positioning an anthropomorphic test device 
(``dummy'') in the driver position.\67\ Because GM's ZEAV would not 
have a steering control system or a human driver, GM states that it is 
precluded from using the specified test procedures in this 
standard.\68\ Instead, GM states that it would ``mirror the 
dummy[hyphen]positioning provisions of the right front passenger 
seating position in the left front seating position.'' \69\ Paragraph 
S7.3 specifies requirements for an audible and visual warning system 
for the driver seating position's seat belt assembly. Again, GM 
explains that because its vehicle would not have a driver, the 
vehicle's ADS would electronically receive the status of passengers' 
seat belt utilization.\70\ GM stated that the vehicle's ADS would also 
provide seat belt reminders and warnings to all vehicle occupants 
before initiating a ride.\71\ Finally, paragraph S4.5.2 requires that 
an air bag readiness indicator be visible from the driver's seating 
position to alert the driver that the vehicle's air bags may not 
function properly and may require service. GM states that this 
information would be provided to the ADS, instead of a human 
driver.\72\ Because GM would control the operation of its vehicles, the 
company explains that it would receive diagnostics from the vehicles 
and thus would be able to determine whether further evaluation or 
repair is necessary.\73\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \67\ See, e.g., 49 CFR 571.208 at S10.3.1.
    \68\ GM Petition at 31.
    \69\ Id.
    \70\ Id.
    \71\ Id.
    \72\ Id.
    \73\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

xiii. FMVSS No. 214
    Paragraph S12 of FMVSS No. 214 also provides test procedures 
involving a dummy positioned in the driver seating position. The 
purpose of FMVSS No. 214 is to reduce the risk of injuries to vehicle 
occupants in side impact crashes. GM again asserts that it would 
``mirror the right front test dummy positioning in the left front 
seating position'' and would utilize computer simulation crash tests 
and subsequent physical crash tests to validate occupant 
protection.\74\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \74\ Id. at 32.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

xiv. FMVSS No. 226
    FMVSS No. 226 relates to ejection mitigation in the event of a 
rollover. The purpose of this standard is to reduce the likelihood of 
ejections of vehicle occupants through side windows during rollovers or 
side impact crashes. Paragraph S4.2.2 of that standard requires a 
readiness indicator to be visible from the driver's seating position to 
alert the driver that the vehicle's curtain air bags may not function 
properly and may require service. Like the information provided by 
other indicators, GM states that this information would be provided to 
the ADS rather than a human driver.\75\ Because GM would control the 
operation of its vehicles, the company again explains that it would 
receive diagnostics from the vehicles and thus would be able to 
determine whether further evaluation or repair is necessary.\76\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \75\ Id.
    \76\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Low-Emission Showing

    To be eligible for a temporary exemption on the grounds that the 
exemption would make development or field evaluation of a low-emission 
vehicle easier without unreasonably lowering the safety performance of 
the vehicle, the applicant must substantiate that the vehicle is a low-
emission vehicle. To qualify as a low-emission vehicle under 49 U.S.C. 
30113(a), the vehicle must meet the applicable standards for new motor 
vehicles under the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7521, et seq. The EPA's 
regulations issued pursuant to the Clean Air Act establish exhaust 
emission thresholds for light-duty low-emission vehicles and zero-
emission vehicles. To qualify as a zero-emission vehicle, a vehicle 
must meet the applicable standards specified at 40 CFR 88.104-94.
    GM asserts that its vehicle would be ``an all-electric, zero-
emission vehicle that does not utilize any form of combustion or emit 
any of the pollutants covered by Section 202 of the Clean Air Act.'' 
\77\ According to GM, although this vehicle would share a platform with 
the Bolt EV, the vehicle's zero-emission propulsion system would 
perform differently because (1) the vehicle's computer system and 
sensors would draw power from the power supply for the propulsion 
system, and (2) the vehicle would be driven by the ADS.\78\ GM believes 
that the real world field evaluation of this vehicle would ``generate 
valuable data about advantages and disadvantages of incorporating the 
sophisticated computer and sensors of an ADS in a

[[Page 10188]]

zero-emission platform.'' \79\ GM believes this data would allow it to 
evaluate the impact of a fully autonomous on-demand service on the 
performance of the zero-emission propulsion system.\80\ GM states that 
granting this exemption would encourage the development and 
introduction of zero-emission autonomous vehicles by GM and other 
manufacturers.\81\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \77\ Id. at 34.
    \78\ Id.
    \79\ Id.
    \80\ Id.
    \81\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Public Interest Argument

    GM asserts that granting this exemption would be beneficial to the 
public. GM states that the safety advances resulting from this 
exemption would have the potential to save lives and reduce motor 
vehicle crashes and injuries.\82\ According to GM, granting the 
exemption would ``support thousands of jobs, increase urban mobility 
options, foster public acceptance of both low-emission and autonomous 
vehicles, generate important real-world data, and inform future NHTSA 
action.'' \83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \82\ Id. at 35.
    \83\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

E. Appendices

    In further support of its request for temporary exemption, GM's 
petition includes three appendices.
    Appendix I provides additional information to support the petition 
on the basis of facilitating the development or field evaluation of a 
low-emission vehicle (49 CFR 555.6(c)).
    Appendix II provides supplemental technical information, including 
an overview of the vehicle's ADS and external sensor system; how the 
vehicle processes and translates information to control vehicle 
movement; the vehicle's connectivity, redundancy and fail-safe 
functionality; GM's approach to testing the vehicle's ESC and brake 
systems; information on how the vehicle would interact with passengers 
in a ride-share scheme; and some test data.\84\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \84\ GM Petition, Appendix II at 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Appendix III details GM's approach to demonstrating how its safety 
assurance, comprehensive risk management and deep integration processes 
for its vehicle and ADS meet the Safety Act requirements.\85\ Appendix 
III also provides additional information on cybersecurity,\86\ 
passenger and other road-user interactions,\87\ and fleet 
management.\88\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \85\ GM Petition, Appendix III at 1-2.
    \86\ Id. at 10.
    \87\ Id. at 18-19.
    \88\ Id. 19-21.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

F. Clarification

    In the section of its petition titled ``Evaluating Safety in a 
Petition for Exemption Under the Safety Act,'' GM speaks of the 
``approach to safety regulation crafted by Congress in the Safety Act'' 
and states ``(t)hroughout its history, NHTSA has never created a new 
Standard (or a de facto Standard) before a new technology has entered 
commerce.'' A reader might incorrectly conclude from this statement 
that the agency could not and never has set requirements for or 
mandated a major technology prior to its entry into commerce. It is 
correct that NHTSA has chosen, as a matter of policy, not to do this in 
the last several decades, preferring instead to allow new technology to 
mature first. However, in November 1970, NHTSA issued a final rule 
establishing performance requirements for passive restraints.\89\ The 
first passive restraints did not appear in on-road test fleets until 
1971, and the first ones in vehicles available to the public did not 
arrive until 1973.\90\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \89\ 35 FR 16927, November 3, 1970. The full early history of 
the notices issued on passive restraints is set out in Chrysler v. 
Department of Transportation, 472 F2d 659, 664-666 (6th Cir. 1972).
    \90\ Automotive News, October 31, 2011. Available at http://www.autonews.com/article/20111031/CHEVY100/310319928/impalas-1973-experimental-airbags-held-up.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Agency's Review of GM's Petition

    The agency has not yet made any judgment on the merits of the 
petition or on the adequacy of the information submitted. NHTSA will 
assess the merits of GM's petition after receiving and considering the 
public comments on this notice and the petition and responses to the 
questions in this notice, and any additional information that may be 
forthcoming from GM.
    We note that GM identifies several tests that would be performed to 
demonstrate safety equivalence, which GM did not include in its 
petition, and which we presume had not been performed as of the 
submission of the petition. NHTSA is placing a non-confidential copy of 
the petition in the docket in accordance with statutory and 
administrative provisions. The agency will update the docket with any 
additional information it receives from GM and will reopen or extend 
the comment period for this petition as needed.

V. Potential Types of Terms

    Once a manufacturer receives an exemption from the prohibitions of 
49 U.S.C. 30112(a)(1), NHTSA can affect the use of those vehicles 
produced pursuant to the exemption only to the extent that NHTSA either 
sets terms when partially or fully granting the exemption or exercises 
its enforcement authority (e.g., its safety defect authority). The 
agency's authority to set terms is broad. Since the terms would be the 
primary means of monitoring and affecting the safe operation of the 
exempted vehicles, the agency would consider carefully whether to 
establish terms and what types of terms to establish if it were to 
grant a petition. The manufacturer would need to agree to abide by the 
terms set for that exemption in order to begin and continue producing 
vehicles pursuant to that exemption.
    Nothing in either the statute or implementing regulations limits 
the application of these terms to the period during which the exempted 
vehicles are produced. NHTSA could set terms that continue to apply to 
the vehicles throughout their normal service life if it deems that such 
application is necessary to serve the interests of safety.
    Thus, if NHTSA were to grant an exemption, in whole or in part, it 
could establish, for example, reporting terms to ensure a continuing 
flow of information to the agency throughout the normal service life of 
the exempted vehicles, not just during the two-year period of 
exemption. Given the uniqueness of GM's vehicles, its petition, and 
public safety concerns, and especially given GM's expectations that the 
capabilities of the ZEAVs would evolve over their lifetime, extended 
reporting may be appropriate. Since only a portion of the total mileage 
that the vehicles, if exempted, could be expected to travel during 
their normal service life would have been driven by the end of the 
exemption period, the data would need to be reported over a longer 
period of time to enable the agency to make sufficiently reliable 
judgments. Such judgments might include those made in a retrospective 
review of the agency's determination about the anticipated safety 
effects of the exemption.
    NHTSA could also establish terms to specify what the consequences 
would be if the flow of information were to cease or become inadequate 
during or after the exemption period. Other potential terms could 
include limitations on vehicle operations (based upon speed, weather, 
identified ODDs, road types, ownership and management, etc.). 
Conceivably, some conditions could be graduated, i.e., restrictions 
could be progressively relaxed after a period of demonstrated driving 
performance. Further, as with data-sharing, it may be necessary to 
specify

[[Page 10189]]

that these terms would apply to the exempted vehicles beyond the two-
year exemption period.
    NHTSA notes that its regulations at 49 CFR part 555 provide that 
the agency can revoke an exemption if a manufacturer fails to satisfy 
the terms of the exemption. NHTSA could also seek injunctive 
relief.\91\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \91\ 49 U.S.C. 30163(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. Request for Comments and Information

    As noted above, the ADS in GM's ZEAV seeks to replicate and replace 
the complex perceiving and judging capabilities of a human driver. As 
GM states,

    With the ADS as the driver, there is no need for features 
designed to interface with a human driver, such as manual human 
driver controls (e.g., steering wheel, brake pedal, and accelerator 
pedal), human-driver-specific information systems (e.g., telltales 
and indicator lamps), human-driver-oriented visibility features 
(e.g., rearview mirrors), or human-driver-specific occupant 
protection (e.g., steering-wheel-mounted airbag).\92\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \92\ Petition, page 12.

    NHTSA anticipates that the complexity of the technologies involved 
in this petition will complicate its efforts to assess the safety 
performance of the ZEAVs. Further complicating those efforts will be 
the expected evolution of the capabilities of the ZEAVs throughout the 
course of their normal service life. This expectation is based on GM's 
statements in its petition that the ZEAVs would operate initially only 
in highly constrained driving scenarios, e.g., at low speed, in 
daylight and fair weather, on streets with one lane in each direction, 
but later in progressively less constrained circumstances. As a result, 
the safety record of the ZEAVs during the potential two-year period of 
requested exemption might not be predictive of their safety record 
during balance of their normal service life.
    An additional consideration raised by this petition is whether to 
set terms and conditions on the exemption and, if so, what terms and 
for what duration.\93\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \93\ Greenkraft Inc.; Grant of Application for a Temporary 
Exemption from FMVSS No. 108, 80 FR 12057, 12060 (March 5, 2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Given the complexity of projecting the safety effects of granting 
an exemption in this instance, it might be desirable to require 
reporting to validate the agency's projections and monitor the safety 
record of the ZEAVs. If the agency were to decide to require reporting, 
it would take into consideration the possibility that reporting terms 
sufficient for an early stage of the ZEAV's normal service life may not 
be sufficient for a later stage. Because of the anticipated progressive 
relaxation of operating scenarios, early data might not be predictive 
of later data.
    Thus, for the above reasons, and because this is an important case 
of first impression and petitions for other vehicles with similar ADS 
are expected in the coming years, NHTSA has set forth below a list of 
questions to elicit public feedback to aid the agency in determining 
how to address and resolve the variety of novel and important issues 
presented in the petition and how to promote, through the setting of 
terms, the safe operation of such vehicles if the agency ultimately 
decides to grant an exemption.
    Please note that answers supported by data and analysis will be 
given greater weight. GM is also encouraged to submit any supplemental 
information to the agency that the petitioner may deem persuasive. 
Commenters are requested to provide specific references to all sources 
for all studies, data, assumptions, scientific reasoning, and 
methodology they cite or submit.

Statutory Bases for Exemption

    1. Which of the two bases for exemption (field evaluation of a new 
motor vehicle safety feature (30113(b)(3)(B)(ii)) or field evaluation 
of a low-emission vehicle (30113(b)(3)(B)(iii)) identified by GM in its 
petition is more appropriate for the agency to use in analyzing and in 
granting or denying the petition and why?
    2. If the agency determines that its authority to grant exemptions 
to facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor 
vehicle safety feature is the more appropriate basis under which to 
evaluate GM's petition, does the petition provide sufficient 
information to enable the agency to make the required statutory finding 
as to whether the level of safety is equivalent to or exceeds the level 
of safety established in the FMVSS from which exemption is sought? If 
not, what additional information should the agency seek prior to 
rendering its final determination and why?
    3. If the agency determines that its authority to grant exemptions 
to facilitate the development or field evaluation of a low-emission 
motor vehicle is the more appropriate basis under which to evaluate 
GM's petition, does the petition provide sufficient information to 
enable the agency to determine whether exempting the vehicle would 
unreasonably degrade the safety of the vehicle? If not, what additional 
information should the agency seek prior to rendering its final 
determination and why?
    4. In lieu of either of the two bases relied upon by GM, would it 
be more appropriate to consider GM's petition under 49 U.S.C. 
30113(b)(3)(B)(iv) (authority to grant exemptions from FMVSS for 
vehicles with an overall safety level at least equal to the overall 
safety level of nonexempt vehicles low-emission vehicles)? If so, why?

Safety Analyses

    5. What studies, data, assumptions, scientific reasoning, and 
methodologies are needed for the agency to evaluate and compare the 
ZEAV and a FMVSS-compliant non-ADS vehicle? For example, should the 
agency assess whether an ADS steers, brakes, and accelerates at least 
as effectively and safely (e.g., as quickly) as the average human 
driver? If so, what methodology should it use? Are there other 
approaches to making the safety evaluation and comparison? Please 
provide specific references to all sources of such tools or evaluation 
approaches.
    6. Given that the ZEAV is expected to evolve over its full-service 
life, how should the effects of that evolution be taken into 
consideration in assessing the safety of the exempted vehicle relative 
to the FMVSS-compliant vehicle?
    7. What studies, data, assumptions, scientific reasoning, and 
methodologies should a petitioner submit to the agency to substantiate 
its record of research, development, and testing establishing the 
innovative nature of the safety feature?
    8. What studies, data, assumptions, validation test results, 
scientific reasoning, methodologies, and analyses should a petitioner 
submit to the agency to validate that its ADS provides safety at least 
equal to the level of the standards for which an exemption is sought?
    9. What studies, data, assumptions, validation test results, 
scientific reasoning, methodologies, and analyses should a petitioner 
submit to the agency to validate that its ADS during its operation will 
have sufficient reliability to accomplish its designed intent, e.g., 
timely and sufficiently applying the service brakes when braking is 
needed for safety purposes?
    10. The test procedures of some FMVSS listed in the exemption 
petition involve the use of human drivers and controls (e.g., light 
vehicle braking). GM indicated that it plans to perform tests with a 
human driver operating a version of the ZEAV modified to include human 
controls. Would performance of tests with such a modified vehicle be 
appropriate, or would programming the

[[Page 10190]]

ADS of the ZEAV to perform test maneuvers be a better means of 
evaluating compliance with performance requirements?
    11. 49 CFR 555.6(b)(iii) requires the petitioner to submit 
``results of tests conducted on the safety or impact protection 
features that demonstrates performance which meets or exceeds the 
requirements of the standard'' from which temporary exemption is 
sought. In the case of a petition submitted for a vehicle that has not 
yet been produced, and therefore, cannot be tested in order to compare 
its performance to that of existing vehicles, how should the agency 
evaluate the safety level of the vehicle? On what preliminary analyses, 
assumptions, and methodologies should the agency rely to assess whether 
such performance has been persuasively demonstrated? How would the 
answers to those questions change if a petitioner could demonstrate 
that the safety features and systems on the vehicle to be exempted are 
comparable in performance to those in a non-exempted vehicle and that 
the addition of the ADS to the vehicle to be exempted did not adversely 
affect the performance of those safety features and systems?
    12. It could be argued that some FMVSS may either not be needed for 
safety or at least less needed for safety in the case of a vehicle that 
can be driven by only an ADS. Examples of potentially unnecessary 
features include inside and outside mirrors as well as the display of 
images from the rearview camera. Should test results or data be 
required to justify such an argument? If yes, what would be the most 
appropriate types of test results or data, and why?
    13. GM asserts that a FMVSS that requires telltales to provide 
drivers with information is not applicable because the ADS would be 
receiving that information. The agency requests comment on whether and 
to what extent the telltales might serve a safety purpose for 
passengers in the vehicle, regardless of whether the information would 
be transmitted to the ZEAV's ADS and whether the ADS would act on that 
information in a timely and appropriate way.\94\ What weight should the 
agency give to the extent of the ADS' ability to respond in appropriate 
ways to the information it receives?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \94\ See the discussion of ``response states'' on pages AII-11 
through AII-13 of Appendix II of GM's petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    14. For a FMVSS whose benefits depend, in part, on the 
attentiveness, judgment, and responsiveness of a human driver (e.g., 
FMVSS No. 135, which requires that a foot control be provided to 
activate service brakes), how should the agency, in considering a 
petition for the exemption of a vehicle equipped with ADS and with no 
human driver controls, evaluate the safety effects of substituting an 
ADS for a human driver? What types of testing and data, and how much, 
would the agency need to evaluate those effects?
    15. Would it be appropriate to use computer simulation as one of 
the methods to determine equivalent safety? If yes, why and how? If 
not, why not? Are there adequately validated simulation models that 
could be used for this purpose?
    16. If the ADS is responsible for decision-making aspects of 
driving that a human driver otherwise would control, is it appropriate 
for the agency to evaluate the responsiveness and driving skills of the 
ADS in relation to the component, system, test procedure, or 
performance requirement from which an FMVSS exemption is sought? If so, 
how should the agency evaluate the safety of the ADS in different 
scenarios, e.g., negotiating a path through oncoming traffic when 
making a left turn, stopping when a pedestrian crosses the vehicle's 
path, and yielding to emergency vehicles? What kind of data would be 
needed for the agency to evaluate the performance of the ADS in these 
and other scenarios? How should the performance of the ADS be compared 
to that of a human driver in a nonexempt vehicle?
    17. To what extent and how should GM's contemplated limited 
deployment (e.g., in a petitioner-controlled rideshare program, with 
established ODD constraints and the ability to pull vehicles off the 
street to remedy, including through software updates, any potential 
safety issues that might arise) be considered when evaluating safety 
equivalence? Does GM's continuous control over the exempted vehicles 
and the ability to make continual improvements in vehicle safety 
performance through software updates argue for acceptance of a greater 
degree of uncertainty about safety effects than in the case of a 
petition for exemption of vehicles to be sold to the public?
    18. If some of the constraints of the ZEAV's initial deployment 
would eventually be progressively relaxed by GM, what types of data 
should the agency use in evaluating the safety of the ZEAV over its 
lifetime and deciding whether to grant or deny the petition? If an 
exemption is granted, should the agency monitor and periodically 
validate these data throughout the ZEAV's service life?
    19. NHTSA requests comment on how NHTSA should evaluate whether 
granting this exemption would be consistent with the ``public 
interest'' and the Vehicle Safety Act. What elements of the public 
interest and the Act would be most important in that evaluation?
    20. In the absence of real-world demonstration of quality of the 
decision-making by the ZEAV's ADS, if the petition were to be granted, 
what terms and conditions, if any, should the agency place on the 
exemption, and any similar future requests, to protect public safety, 
facilitate agency efforts to monitor the operations of exempted 
vehicles, and maximize the learning opportunities presented by the on-
road experience of the exempted vehicles during the exemption period 
and thereafter?
    21. Should NHTSA consider how the ZEAV would respond if it needed 
to deal with an unusual situation, e.g., cross the yellow line to pass 
a stopped vehicle blocking the way forward for a prolonged period of 
time or obey a policeman giving instructions instead of obeying a 
traffic light?

Terms and Conditions

    22. Please comment on the potential utility of NHTSA's placing 
terms and conditions on an exemption requiring the submission of the 
following categories of data:
    a. Statistics on use (e.g., for each functional class of roads, the 
number of miles, speed, hours of operation, climate/weather and related 
road surface conditions).
    b. Statistics and other information on performance (e.g., type, 
number, and causes, and results of collisions or near misses, 
disengagements, and transitions to fallback mechanisms, if 
appropriate). How can the term ``near miss'' best be defined so that 
there is uniform understanding of the term and consistent practices 
across all manufacturers in the identifying and reporting of ``near 
misses''?
    c. Metrics that the manufacturer is tracking to identify and 
respond to progress toward higher levels of safety (e.g., miles without 
a crash and software updates that increase the ODD).
    d. Information related to community, driver and pedestrian 
awareness, behavior, concerns, and acceptance related to vehicles with 
an ADS.
    e. Metrics or information concerning the durability of the ADS 
equipment and calibration, and need for maintenance of the ADS. For 
example, would the ADS work in all identified operating conditions or 
would there be additional limitations? How would any limitations be 
addressed and managed?

[[Page 10191]]

    f. Data and information on the initial and subsequent ODDs and 
software updates.
    g. For all categories of information, how should any concerns about 
confidential business information and privacy be addressed?
    23. If there would be other categories of data that should be 
considered, please identify them and the purposes for which they would 
be useful to the agency in carrying out its responsibilities under the 
Safety Act.
    24. If the agency were to require the reporting of data, for what 
period should the agency require it to be reported--the two-year 
exemption period or the ZEAVs' entire normal service life?
    25. Given estimates that vehicles with high and full driving 
automation would generate terabytes of data per vehicle per day, how 
should the need for data be appropriately balanced with the burden on 
manufacturers of providing and maintaining it and with the ability of 
the agency to absorb and use it effectively?
    26. If supporting information (including analysis, methodology, 
data, and computer simulation results involving proprietary systems or 
specialized computer programs) is submitted by a petitioner under a 
request for confidential treatment and relied upon by the agency in its 
determination whether to grant or deny a petition, how can the public 
be provided with an evaluation and a justification for the 
determination that are transparent, readily understandable and 
persuasive?
    27. Are there any mechanisms that may help further mitigate the 
underlying safety risks, if any, presented by this petition? For 
example, what additional safety and engineering redundancies, if any, 
should NHTSA consider requiring as a condition to granting the 
exemption?
    28. Over the history of the Agency, exemption petitions based on 
some form of safety analysis, as opposed to the much more common type 
of petition based on a claim of economic hardship, have averaged only 
1-2 per year. Typically, these safety-based petitions have involved 
technologies that affect only a single vehicle function or at least a 
very narrow range of functions and that were well described and tested. 
Such petitions were resolved by the Agency's either granting or denying 
them after soliciting and considering public comments. In some cases, 
the Agency sent requests to the applicant for additional test data. In 
most cases, this second group of petitions were either granted or 
denied, again after public comment. In a few instances, the petition 
remained as ``pending.''
    In our current innovative environment, such an approach presents 
challenges for technologies, e.g., automated driving systems for 
vehicles without manual driving controls, that affect a broad range of 
functions and that have not been developed sufficiently to incorporate 
them in vehicles in order to generate the real-world test data that has 
typically been required for granting petitions. The lack of real-world 
test data could result in lengthy delays and even non-approval.
    To address this problem, NHTSA solicits public comment on 
alternative approaches to analyzing and resolving petitions for 
exemption from FMVSS in a timely and appropriate way, including but not 
limited to:


--After public comment, exercising our discretion to rely upon other 
forms of evidence in making the statutorily required findings quickly 
for petitions related to technology with significant lifesaving 
potential to allow for expedited approval for testing and development 
of a very limited number of vehicles \95\ under well-defined, risk-
managed conditions;
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \95\ E.g., a number significantly less than the 2,500 vehicles 
per year authorized by 49 U.S.C. 30113.
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--Deny petitions if applicants are unable to respond adequately to 
NHTSA requests for further information within a specified time period;
--For vehicles that would be deployed only within very limited 
operating areas, go beyond seeking public comment by hosting public 
meetings or otherwise providing for targeted and transparent public 
engagement in the intended geographical operating area to allow for 
full and transparent public discussion of novel safety issues and 
concerns, emergency response considerations, or other issues of 
interest to state and local stakeholders regarding the exemption 
requested and relevant to NHTSA's review of the petition;
--Any other options to process petitions in a way that is timely, 
transparent and supportive of the safety goals of the FMVSS from which 
exemption is sought.

VII. Comment Period

    Because of the novelty and complexity of the petition, the agency 
is providing a 60-day comment period. After considering public comments 
and other available information, NHTSA will publish a notice of final 
action on the petition in the Federal Register.
    Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will 
continue to file relevant information in the docket as it becomes 
available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, 
we recommend that you periodically check the Docket for new material. 
You can arrange with the docket to be notified when others file 
comments in the docket. See www.regulations.gov for more information. 
We will reopen or extend the comment period for this petition, as 
needed.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30113 and 49 U.S.C. 30166; delegations of 
authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8.

    Issued in Washington, DC under authority delegated pursuant to 
49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8.
Heidi R. King,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-05119 Filed 3-18-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P