While automated software control systems are increasingly being used in vehicles, safety authorities do not have enough expertise to measure or regulate them, according to a recent U.S. National Research Council (NRC) report. The report describes a situation in which car makers are producing vehicles controlled mostly by software, but industry regulators have very limited ability to judge their safety or ascertain the cause of incidents.
"A standing advisory committee is one way the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] can interact with industry and with technical experts in electronics to keep abreast of these technologies and oversee their safety," says NRC chair Louis Lanzerotti. NRC says the advisory committee needs a panel of individuals with backgrounds central to the design, development, and safety assurance of car electronics systems, including experts in software and systems engineering, in human factors, and in electronics hardware.
In addition, the report says the NHTSA must become more proactive in technology development, including assessing how drivers interact with electronic systems. "In the future, the possibility of electronics leading to increasingly autonomous vehicles presents a new set of safety challenges and will demand even more agency planning and foresight," the report says.
From Computerworld UK
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