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Crash-prevention tech is making strides, but barriers remain

“TechCelerate Now” Phase I report reveals ADAS acceptance efforts

Posted January 12, 2024

Much progress has been made toward encouraging motor carriers and drivers to adopt crash-prevention technologies like forward collision warning systems, automatic emergency brakes, and adaptive cruise control, but barriers remain, according to a new report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The report summarizes the progress made in Phase I of the agency’s “TechCelerate Now” program, a multi-year effort to improve driver and carrier acceptance of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Survey says

Launched in 2019, the program began with research, outreach, and data collection. Surveys conducted before and after the outreach efforts found that 4 percent of drivers and 13 percent of carrier executives indicated that the program positively influenced an ADAS purchase decision.

As part of the program, the FMCSA developed an online return-on-investment (ROI) calculator to help motor carriers determine how much money can be saved through ADAS adoption. Despite potential savings, there’s still a lot of hesitation in the industry.

“Uncertainty about reliability, usability, maintenance requirements, and ROI are the primary factors contributing to slow adoption and negative perception of the technologies,” the report states.

Drivers are skeptical

Drivers were found to be more skeptical about the benefits of ADAS than carrier executives, though both agreed that ADAS warning technologies (like lane-departure warning and blind-spot detection systems) and road-facing cameras could improve safety. In fact, over 50 percent of driver respondents said they thought active steering control, driver-facing cameras, and automatic emergency braking could be harmful to safety.

Carrier executives ranked driver acceptance of technologies as one of the top three factors considered when deciding to install ADAS technologies (the other two are the possibility of lower insurance premiums and the cost to purchase the technology).

As a result, the report says future efforts should be focused on drivers who may worry about ADAS taking too much control. There will also be more focus on insurance education, warning systems, and outreach approaches.

Last fall, the FMCSA awarded a contract for Phase 2 of the program, which will include an expanded national outreach and education campaign, measurement of ADAS safety impacts and the effectiveness of the campaign, and additional reporting of results.

Find more details in the full report.

This article was written by Daren Hansen of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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