On January 25, 2021, Ariel Wolf was quoted in Automotive News on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) efforts to finish projects, finalize rules, and tie up loose ends in anticipation of President Joe Biden taking office.
According to the article, since early January, the agency has issued long-awaited revisions to modernize certain federal safety standards for automated vehicles, proposed updates to its new-vehicle evaluation program, expanded a voluntary data-sharing platform on AV testing, established an initiative to address safety risks related to electric vehicle batteries, and settled regulatory compliance issues with automakers. That flurry of activity — common at the end of a presidential administration — tends to be heightened when there's a change in party.
Wolf said NHTSA's recent actions inform the industry that AVs remain an important part of the conversation for transportation and infrastructure in the years to come. But capturing the safety and mobility benefits and deploying AVs in the safest way possible requires a multifaceted approach, he said.
"We'll see what happens with those initiatives, but there's certainly a lot to build upon and to have some continuity in the [Biden] administration on all this," Wolf said. "It's not binary — one versus the other or regulation versus deregulation. There's just a lot to do and a number of ways to do it."