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Division of Freight, Transit, & Heavy Vehicle Safety looking to make better use of truck drivers’ time

VTTI’s VTTI’s Division of Freight, Transit, and Heavy Vehicle Safety (DHVY) is exploring the automated driving system (ADS) space, working with fleets and truck drivers by presenting these systems as an opportunity to enhance their safety and efficiency. In collaboration with Pronto, an ADS technology developer, DHVY conducted a demonstration of a use-case at the Port of Oakland (California) where tractor-trailer queues can result in drivers’ wait times of up to 6 hours when in line for loading and unloading at ports. An ADS solution for this situation was successfully demonstrated whereby the truck self-operated while in a long queue. This is impactful for drivers as many are paid by the mile and lose valuable time from their Hours-of-Service (HOS) operating limits (typically, driving 11 hours in a 14-hr workday) if they are inching along in a queue. If the hours spent waiting in a queue are counted against their HOS, this has a major impact on the amount of time that they are still able to drive that day and, thus, their earnings. It also affects how quickly goods get delivered to their final destination.

The implications of ADS on the HOS regulations remains to be seen, but if an ADS-equipped vehicle can be responsible for the “driving” (in level 4 mode) while in a queue to be loaded or unloaded and the truck driver’s daily HOS are not used up when that is the case, then the impact on drivers and the industry could be substantial.

This project is currently ongoing with ADS demonstrations planned for other use-cases. A video of the Port of Oakland demonstration can be viewed below.

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Tractor-trailers at Port of Oakland

Port of Oakland - Autonomous Queueing Demonstration