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Project Highlights

Trucking Fleet Concept of Operations

More Information

VTTI is currently working on a robust study of issues concerning the deployment of Automated Driving Systems (ADS) to showcase important aspects of how motor carriers can incorporate ADS-equipped vehicles into their operations. Pronto is the main ADS technology developer for this study effort, as they were the first company to successfully drive coast-to-coast in the United States without human intervention. The Division of Freight, Transit, & Heavy Vehicle Safety is collaborating with several motor carriers to create a trucking fleet concept of operations (CONOPS) for the deployment of ADS-equipped trucks to safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively move freight.

The study comprises three phases: (1) partial automation; (2) conditional automation; and (3) full automation. This project will navigate through each phase based on the ADS’s ability to pass the imposed safety metrics created for each step. The VTTI team, in conjunction with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), will develop and demonstrate ADS inspection procedures and depict how these data can be used by motor carrier companies and roadside inspectors. Pronto is also sharing techniques to keep operators alert through the utilization of a driver monitor and an alertness management system.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the sponsor for this effort. VTTI is refining safety metrics for ADS vehicles. In addition, there will be opportunities to visualize the project through ADS demonstrations, a driverless cross-country highway demonstration, ADS port queuing demonstrations, and an exit-to-exit use case operation. VTTI and Pronto will host several ADS Roadshow events across the country at national and international industry conferences, trade shows, and trucking events. Roadshows will feature interactive static and dynamic ADS demonstrations and collect feedback from roadshow attendees that may contribute to future ADS development and knowledge.

In addition, our research partner, the Texas Transportation Institute, is working with state departments of transportation (DOT) across the country to create a system that DOTs can use to assess roadway readiness and safety for ADS-equipped vehicles. VTTI is also developing data security and transfer protocols so that the data collected can be stored in the FMCSA’s dataverse housed at VTTI. Pronto is developing a cybersecurity best practice guide for motor carriers.

For more information, contact Principal Investigator Martin Walker at mwalker@vtti.vt.edu. In addition, senior research associate Erin Mabry is currently developing the first ADS Truck Roadshow, which can be experienced at the ITS America Conference in Charlotte, NC from December 7-9, 2021.