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Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R)
FY20 Appropriations Act Language
Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence


Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94; 12/20/2019) – Division H, Title I, Section 105 (pp. 998, 1009)

. . . shall remain available until expended for . . . (4) $5,000,000 for the establishment of a Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence as required in section 105 of this Act. . .

SEC. 105. (a) The Secretary shall establish a Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence within the Department of Transportation, in order to have a Department of Transportation workforce capable of reviewing, assessing, and validating the safety of automated technologies.

(b) The Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence shall—

  1. serve as a central location within the Department of Transportation for expertise in automation and human factors, computer science, data analytics, machine learning, sensors, and other technologies involving automated systems;
  2. collaborate with and provide support on highly automated systems to all Operating Administrations of the Department of Transportation; and
  3. have a workforce composed of Department of Transportation employees, including direct hires or detailees from Operating Administrations of the Department of Transportation and other Federal agencies.

(c) Employees of the Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence, in conjunction with the relevant Operating Administrations of the Department of Transportation, shall review, assess, and validate highly automated systems to ensure their safety.

(d) The Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence shall not supersede laws or regulations granting certification authorities to Operating Administrations of the Department of Transportation.

(e) No later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives

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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R)
FY20 Appropriations Act Language
and the Senate on staffing needs and the staffing plan for the Highly Automated
Systems Safety Center of Excellence.


Joint Explanatory Statement Accompanying the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (p. 3)

Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence (COE). -The agreement provides $5,000,000 to establish the Highly Automated Systems Safety COE within the Department of Transportation to review, assess, and validate the safety of highly automated systems across all modes of transportation.

Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020 (H. Rept. 116-106; 6/6/19; p. 11)

Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence (COE).— Advanced technologies are rapidly transforming the national transportation system, and are already critical components in airplanes, trains, and motor vehicles. In recent years, multiple fatal accidents have underscored the importance of validating the safety of new technologies. As automated technologies become increasingly widespread, the Committee believes the safety of the traveling public jointly depends on technology developers, owners and operators, and appropriate Federal regulations and effective oversight. To ensure automated technologies are safe and work as intended, the Department must have a workforce that can review and analyze complex transportation-based systems. The Committee directs the Secretary to stand up the Highly Automated Systems Safety COE. The Highly Automated Systems Safety COE would serve as a dedicated workforce at the Department with the necessary skills and expertise in automation and human behavior, including but not limited to, computer science, machine learning, sensors, and other technologies to audit, inspect, and certify the safety of highly automated systems across all modes of transportation.


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Last updated: Friday, May 8, 2020