This week we publish a report from GTB, on the recent GRE meeting held as a hybrid session in Geneva. As you will read, it was a fruitful GRE session making good progress on the hot topics, including signalisation of vehicles driving in autonomous mode and the activation of signalling lamps in the parked condition; the so-called “welcome light”. These discussions are encouraging as they are the start of formal considerations relating to the regulation of the new lighting innovations. As these discussions are taking place at GRE, (the working party on lighting and light signalling of the UN World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations) this is the most efficient route to the development of worldwide harmonised technical requirements for the new functions.
It is also encouraging that the barriers to innovation, caused by the long process of updating the Chinese GB standards, are being addressed in the Chinese 14th five-year plan, but more work is required. However, regarding the USA, it is not encouraging that the gap between FMVSS 108 and the UN technical requirements is widening and leaving manufacturers with the uncertainly of whether these new technologies can be legally installed on their vehicles for the US market. Harmonisation becomes more and more distant from reality and simply a dream!
Although I am now retired from my activities in our wonderful worldwide lighting community, I still believe that harmonisation must be the answer, if we want to remove regulatory barriers to innovation. I will be interested to see how the discussion develops at the forthcoming DVN USA workshop. For me, the message is clear; we need NHTSA to actively participate in GRE and to commit to following the example of Korea, India, China, and many other nations, by routinely updating FMVSS 108 in line with the outcomes of the work in GRE.
The regulatory session at the forthcoming US workshop will be an opportunity to debate this issue with leading experts, to try to understand what industry really wants in terms of harmonised regulation and how it can be achieved.