Automotive Standards and Regulations – How often do they change?

Because Humaxa focuses on how to help companies stay compliant and get ahead of any regulatory changes or proposed standards, I’m often asked about how AI can help with this mundane task.

But how often DO regulatory standards change? Is it just the frequency of change that makes it hard to stay up to date on all that are applicable?

To answer this question, it’s important to look at WHY regulations change.

1.      Technological Advances – When some new technology comes down the pike, it often will have a regulatory impact. For example,Autonomous Driving is a relatively new technology that has tremendous safety implications – not just for the occupants of the AV, but for all drivers around the vehicle itself. Regulatory bodies are not known for moving particularly quickly, but safety is paramount. Electric vehicles also catalyzed regulatory change when they – starting with Tesla – exploded into the automotive market. Connected Car technologies, where all vehicles are connected to everything, drove regulatory and standards changes to accommodate these brand-new technologies.

2.      Environmental Concerns – People are incessantly arguing about global warming and climate change, but nearly everyone can agree that our planet’s climate is changing, regardless of the root cause. The car buyers of today are increasingly inquisitive regarding the impact a new vehicle purchase will have on the overall effort to curb climate change.Standards such as the European Union's Euro emissions standards or the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in the US are constantly being revised to keep up with changes in technologies and expectations. As climate change is measured and where global emissions are falling behind targets, many see stricter environmental standards to “catch up.”

3.      Safety Improvements – I am going to date myself here, but when I learned to drive at age 16, my father taught me in a 1956 Volkswagen Bug with no seat belts. My mother insisted that the car be retrofitted with seat belts (as it should have been!) but it’s a great example to measure how far safety standards have come. Today, mothers and fathers everywhere no longer need to worry about their kids learning to drive in cars without seat belts. Of course, technology has led to much, much safer cars – and has contributed to the pace of change when it comes to safety regulations. Crash safety standards have accelerated. Pedestrian protection regulations,especially in the age of autonomous driving, have also picked up speed. And in a new twist, with the proliferation of connected vehicles, cyber security standards have also taken off.

4.      Market Dynamics – As the ultimate judge on what changes occur in vehicles over the years, the consumer has also changed.What car buyers want today differs drastically from what they wanted in years past. SUVs and Crossovers didn’t used to exist, but they sure do now. With the advent of these categories, new regulations – like rollover standards – have had to quickly evolve.

Once we look at the reasons regulations and standards change, it’s easier to understand why they change as often as they do. Typically,regulations and standards go through annual updates, multi-year cycles, or ad-hoc updates when needed. For example, the CAFE standards in the US are updated annually to ensure gradual improvement in fuel economy while the EU's Euro 6 emissions standards were implemented in stages over several years. Occasionally,urgent issues such as a significant safety concern or a technological breakthrough can prompt ad-hoc regulatory changes.

How do you keep up with standards and regulations? Do you have a dedicated person or team whose job it is to stay up to date? Or do you use an AI system to do this drudgery?

Let me know!


Carolyn Peer

CEO/Co-founder Humaxa


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