Tuesday, August 15, 2017

HR 3401 Introduced – Automated vehicles

Last month Rep. Schakowsky (D,IL) introduced HR 3401, a bill that would require the DOT’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish new automotive safety standards for highly automated vehicles. This bill was introduced the same day that the House Energy and Commerce Committee  amended HR 3388 to do the same thing.

This bill is nearly identical to Section 4 of the revised HR 3388 adopted by the Committee. There is one area where the paragraph numbering is slightly different, but there are no substantive differences between the requirements. It would amend 49 USC by adding a new §30129, Updated or new motor vehicle safety standards for highly automated vehicles.

It would require DOT to “issue a final rule requiring the submission of safety assessment certifications regarding how safety is being addressed by each entity developing a highly automated vehicle or an automated driving system” {new §30129(a)(1)}.

It would also require DOT to submit to Congress a regulatory and safety priority plan designed to accommodate the development and deployment of highly automated vehicles while ensuring “the safety and security of highly automated vehicles and motor vehicles and others that will share the roads with highly automated vehicles” {new §30129(c)(1)}. That plan would include a requirement for NHTSA to “identify elements that may require performance standards including human machine interface and sensors and actuators, and consider process and procedure standards for software and cybersecurity as necessary” {new §30129(c)(2)(B)}.

Moving Forward

Ms. Schakowsky is the ranking member of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Normally this would probably allow her to have this bill considered in Committee. In this case, however, because this bill was introduced the same day that HR 3388 was, it seems as is the bill was introduced as a backup measure to ensure that the safety standards provisions of this bill could end up being considered separately from the remainder of the provisions of the larger bill if that bill was determined to be too controversial to be considered on the floor of the House.

I suspect that this bill will not see any further action until the House Leadership determines whether or not HR 3388 will make it to the floor. If it does not, this bill will likely be moved to the floor for a vote without going through a separate review by the Committee.


I did not mention the cybersecurity requirements described above in my discussion of HR 3388 because they were duplicative of the requirements that I described but were not as expansive as the cybersecurity requirements in §5 of HR 3388.

What is important (and unusual from a cybersecurity perspective) here is that both bills would require the establishment for safety standards for HMI, sensors and actuators. It does not include any guidance on what those standards would include, but that would normally be expected to be developed by the technical experts at NHTSA. But this would end up being where the Federal government took its first crack at developing safety (and perhaps specific cybersecurity) standards for key components found in (almost by definition) these critical components of control systems. Those standards could end up being ground breaking regulatory standards for the ICS industry.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */