FMCSA to gather public input on ‘highly automated’ CMVs

April 24 session at CVSA event will be webcast

Posted April 18, 2017

Federal regulators will be holding a listening session to gather public input on “highly automated” commercial motor vehicles (HACVs), saying they “hold enormous potential benefits for safety, mobility, and sustainability.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will host the meeting on April 24, 2017, during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia. The meeting will be recorded and webcast.

The FMCSA says it wants to gather input on the design, development, testing, and deployment of HACVs, which can take full control of the driving tasks in at least some circumstances. According to the agency, the term “highly automated vehicle” represents levels 3-5 on a scale developed by SAE International:

  • SAE Level 0: The human driver does everything.
  • SAE Level 1: An automated system on the vehicle can sometimes assist the human driver conduct some parts of the driving task.
  • SAE Level 2: An automated system on the vehicle can actually conduct some parts of the driving task, while the human continues to monitor the driving environment and performs the rest of the driving task.
  • SAE Level 3: An automated system can both actually conduct some parts of the driving task and monitor the driving environment in some instances, but the human driver must be ready to take back control when the automated system requests.
  • SAE Level 4: An automated system can conduct the driving task and monitor the driving environment, and the human need not take back control, but the automated system can operate only in certain environments and under certain conditions.
  • SAE Level 5: The automated system can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions that a human driver could perform them.

“Public discussions regarding HACVs have become much more prominent in recent months as developers continue efforts to demonstrate and test the viability of advanced driver assistance systems on large commercial vehicles,” the FMCSA wrote. “FMCSA encourages the development of these advanced safety technologies for use on commercial vehicles, and at the same time, recognizes the need to ensure that testing and operation of these advanced safety systems is conducted in a manner that ensures the highest level of safety for everyone involved — and most importantly, for the motoring public.”

In part, the agency is seeking input on how it can provide appropriate standards for the safe operation of HACVs, how enforcement officials could identify various levels of automated operation, and the types of HACV equipment that can be effectively inspected at roadside.

Comments will be accepted at the April 24 public meeting but also online until July 17 at the Federal eRulemaking Portal under docket number FMCSA-2017-0114.

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