Following the discussions during the 2012 and 2013 DVN US Workshops, a dialogue has been established with NHTSA to clarify how the SAE Lighting Systems Group can contribute toward possible future rulemaking to encompass new technologies.
A first meeting has been arranged with NHTSA in March 2013 to discuss how NHTSA and SAE may work together. In parallel with these discussions, a support structure has been established in SAE and GTB to gather the experts that will be required to provide the necessary input to the NHTSA activities. To this end, the SAE Lighting Systems Group has established a Regulatory Cooperation Task Force that is chaired by Mike Larsen (GM) with Stephan Berlitz (Audi) as vice chairman. Similarly, GTB has established a mirror task-force, chaired by Stephan Berlitz, to provide technical expertise from the GTB experts. This combination of SAE and GTB expertise is intended to provide a comprehensive support to the NHTSA rulemaking activities. Last week, the first meeting of this Mirror Working Group was held in Turin to explain its scope and to establish how the GTB input can be effectively collected and incorporated into SAE activity.
More and more of us are paddling the boat in the same direction now, and it is the correct direction. The desire of industry for harmonisation will be long and difficult to satisfy—there are many parties with many interests, some of which conflict—but the renewed initiative of the US regulators is definitely a positive incentive.
As discussed at the US workshop, the establishment of harmonised technical requirements is a top priority as a precursor to discussion of administrative harmonisation. It is clear that the US, and probably China and India, will not be joining the UN 1958 agreement in the near future but this does not prevent real progress being achieved to harmonise the technical requirements.
The panel session at the DVN Shanghai workshop, gathering key Chinese regulators and standardisation experts, will be an important step to clarify the differences in regulatory approaches and provide an indication how the harmonisation process can proceed. The gap is not as great as with the US, because many of the technical requirements of the UN regulations are used as a basis for the Chinese requirements but there are still many points to solve to achieve effective harmonisation that will allow China to enter the “fast track” world of vehicle system innovation and enhanced traffic safety.
We can see the lighting community is starting to work together on a global level. The primary main objective is and must always remain safety, of course. In my opinion, that works towards—not against—the introduction of new lighting technologies and stylish new car faces to entice buyers to pick cars with advanced lighting.
DVN Editor in Chief