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New Legislation Tackles ADAS and Data Access Standards

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May 19, 2021—Since the Biden administration's landmark announcement of its massive $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan back in late March, headlines have been filled with electric vehicle incentives, charging infrastructure investments, and semiconductor production. 

But far less attention’s been paid to H.R. 2 (also known as the Moving Forward Act)—a piece of legislation that’s currently in the works and could also have a critical impact on the future of the auto industry. 

To learn more about the bill and its potential future impact ADAPT checked in with Ann Wilson, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association’s (MEMA) senior vice-president of government affairs.

What will H.R. 2 include?

H.R. 2, which is part of the transportation reauthorization bill that will be reintroduced this year in the House of Representatives, is still under development but will most likely be passed and signed into law by October 1.

Transportation bills are supposed to address things like filling potholes and building bridges, but safety issues are also included, and that's a piece MEMA’s been working with the House and Senate on. We’re working on updates to the Monroney standards, or the five star label that tells consumers about a vehicle’s crashworthiness and measures the effectiveness of safety features like seatbelts, air bags, and the stability and rigidity of a vehicle's overall structure.

But that label doesn’t grade what we call pre-crash technology—which includes ADAS features like automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane keeping technology, blind spot detection, and back-up technology—the tech that can actually stop you prior to hitting something. We want to update that assessment program to give consumers information about that pre-crash technology so they’re getting a chance to make more informed decisions.  

What would the larger impact of those standards be?

More and more vehicle manufacturers are rolling out these features like AEB, and not all are mandated, but as mandates take shape manufacturers are going to need a roadmap to set some uniformity across those standards. And those standards are going to have to rise to a whole new level when you consider autonomous vehicles and the features being developed to keep you safe in a vehicle you may not even be driving. 

Right now Ford and Toyota might have AEB features in their vehicles, but they’re defining them completely differently, so this is something automakers are working toward as well; coming up with some depth and definitions that consumers can better understand. And that’s a huge factor to tackle when it comes to autonomous vehicles. 

If you think back on that horrific Tesla crash that occurred recently in Texas, what about that accident could have been avoided by giving consumers a clearer understanding of these features that are being designed to keep you safe and what their limitations might be?  Consumers need to understand the possibilities, but also the limitations of the technologies in their vehicles.This is just one step that’s a part of a much larger process on defining and standardizing this emerging technology. 

Where does data access come in?

A big piece of having safety features like AEB is being able to repair it properly. If you can’t afford to get your car fixed correctly, how safe are some of these technologies really keeping you? So, the aftermarket is going to need access to the data surrounding those technologies in order to keep people safe in the work they’re doing to repair vehicles with those features.

The two are very much connected so it’s a natural fit here, but including that piece in this legislation is also a step forward on that much larger fight for the aftermarket that’s only going to become more and more critical as these technologies are used more widely and autonomous vehicles gain traction in the marketplace. 

 

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