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U.S. agency to speed reviews of automaker’s self-driving applications

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. auto safety regulator said on Tuesday the speeding up of the process for the review of the question of whether car manufacturers can implement self-driving vehicles without devices, such as brakes and steering wheels.

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks a part of a route is used for testing a driverless electric shuttle to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 7 March 2018. REUTERS/Paul Lienert

Car manufacturers must currently meet, almost 75 car safety standards, many of them written with the assumption that a licensed driver would be able to control the vehicle with the help of the traditional human inspections.

On Tuesday, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that it issued a final regulation streamline the review process. NHTSA eliminated a requirement that calls for the agency to determine whether a petition is complete before you a summary for the public comment.

Deputy NHTSA Administrator Heidi and the King said in a statement the “rule improves the efficiency and transparency of the process to focus on safety.”

Under the law, vehicle manufacturers may petition for an exemption for up to 2,500 vehicles for the safety of the vehicle standards as long as they are at least as safe as existing vehicles.

In January, General Motors Co (GM.N) filed a petition with NHTSA seeking an exemption for the use of fully automated vehicles as part of a ride-part of the fleet that it plans to deploy in 2019.

NHTSA has not yet declared the GM petition is complete and the agency will not immediately say when it will publish a summary of the plan.

Alphabet, Inc. ‘ s (GOOGL.O) Waymo unit started with a limited autonomous driving-origination service in Arizona in December. In contrast to GM, Waymo the vehicles in the man controls.

NHTSA also said that it was seeking comment on the use and the integration of vehicle communication technologies. It said these technologies could improve vehicle efficiency and safety, as well as the support of the cooperative vehicle automation concepts.

The U.S. Transportation Department said it intends to “maintain the priority use of 5.9 Ghz spectrum for the transportation safety communications”, even if some of the Federal Communications Commission members want to designate the spectrum for personal wireless communication.

In December 2016, the Obama administration proposed requiring that all new cars and trucks to “talk” to each other using short-range wireless technology to possibly prevent tens of thousands of accidents per year. The Trump of directors has not taken a decision on the proposal.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio

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