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To provide the trucking industry with clear guidelines on how to safely implement, integrate, and benefit from automated driving system (ADS)-equipped trucks, the Division of Freight, Transit, & Heavy Vehicle Safety (DHVY) team at VTTI and expert partners are developing and demonstrating a Fleet Concept of Operations (CONOPS). 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. Other project partners, including State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), trucking fleets, and supporting organizations in insurance, research and higher education, and the trucking industry are working with DHVY researchers to create a CONOPS for the deployment of ADS-equipped trucks to safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively move freight.

The CONOPS, a comprehensive document that describes ADS characteristics from the viewpoint of the truck fleets, includes eight key sections: ADS Installation and Maintenance Guide for Fleets, ADS Inspection Procedures, Driver-Monitor Alertness Management, Motor Carrier Guide to Insuring ADS-Equipped Trucks, Identification of ADS Safety Metrics/Variables, ADS Road Assessment System, Data Security/Transfer Protocol, and Cybersecurity Best Practices. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the sponsor for this effort.

The primary goals of the CONOPS project are to: (1) collect information and practices on how to safely integrate ADS-equipped trucks into the U.S. on-road transportation system; (2) provide the USDOT with data for safety analysis to support rulemaking to help modernize regulations; (3) demonstrate how to integrate and deploy ADS-equipped trucks in a productive, cooperative way into the existing road freight ecosystem; and (4) collaborate with a broad and diverse group that includes government entities, university and research institutes, trucking associations, and private partners.

The CONOPS includes a series of deployments to showcase practical and real-world integration of ADS into road freight operation with live traffic. The first deployment demonstrated truck queuing in port operations; the second deployment was five, SAE Level 4, cross-country trips along major freight corridors; and the third will be ADS integration in fleet operations. The data collected in these demonstrations will be uploaded in near-real time to a VTTI-supported data repository, the FMCSA CONOPS Dataverse, for storage and access.

In addition, three hands-on ADS demonstrations, or Roadshows, will be held to allow end users, stakeholders, and the public to experience ADS technology on closed test tracks. The roadshows, hosted at national and international industry conferences, tradeshows, and trucking events across the country, will engage the public with driving automation systems to share information about their functionality, benefits, and limitations. Roadshows will feature interactive static and dynamic ADS demonstrations and collect feedback from roadshow attendees that may contribute to future ADS development and knowledge. VTTI is also refining safety metrics for ADS vehicles and evaluating technologies and techniques to keep ADS-equipped truck operators alert through the utilization of a driver monitor and an alertness management system. In addition, our research partner, the Texas Transportation Institute, is working with state departments of transportation (DOT) across the country to create an assessment system that DOTs can use to evaluate roadways for ADS-equipped vehicles. VTTI is also developing data security and transfer protocols so that the data collected can be stored in the Dataverse housed at VTTI, and a cybersecurity best practice guide for motor carriers.

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