On November 3, the FMCSA announced an upcoming project that is aimed to gather the necessary information to understand how vehicles with automated driving systems (aka ADS) can be implemented in vehicle fleets with usual trucks. For this, the Agency wants to conduct a survey involving at least 2,000 participants. Among them will be fleet owners, truck sellers, commercial drivers, engineers. The discussion will be closed on January 4, 2021.
What FMCSA Is Concerned About
While ADS is created to increase trucks' productivity and efficiency and improve road safety, it is not clear how such systems should be integrated with traditional truck fleets. The Agency representatives said that technological progress is moving faster than fleets and other enterprises' capability to introduce modern technologies into their work. In such a way, the implementation of automated driving systems could negatively impact truck operations and delay the achievement of safety benefits.
The same question is raised by the managers of cargo transportation, namely how they can implement ADS in their work. The integration of these systems into large trucks can profoundly affect the entire US trade and economy because trucks carry over 70% of all loads.
By such manners, this project aims to create and demonstrate CONOPS for trucks with automated driving systems. The findings will help to create real conditions for the implementation of systems in fleets.
One of the areas of the project is informational events for truck drivers and fleet owners. They will be able to meet with ADS technology developers, and equipment producers.
Besides, there will be an opportunity to participate in practical technology demonstrations. The objectives of such demonstrations are:
- introduce ADS to drivers, fleet owners, and other personnel;
- gather necessary data on the participants' opinions regarding ADS;
- check whether CONOPS covers the main issues of the industry using the data obtained.
The Agency plans to conduct surveys during four major conferences: the Technology Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting, North American Commercial Vehicle Show, SAE COMVEC, and Automated Vehicle Symposium. In this case, the polls will be conducted twice, before and after the event. Participants will first share their preliminary views on ADS, and later after taking part in practical demonstrations at roadshows. This way, it will be possible to see if their opinions about these systems change.
FMCSA representatives will use cell phones for interviews. Research questionnaires will be uploaded in the form of an application. After each participant, the questionnaires will be cleared. When respondents answer the proposed questions, the information will be stored on the device without access until it is downloaded to a computer.