FMCSA Requests Comments On Auto-Driving Vehicles

Federal officials are seeking comments on how to regulate an automated driving system (ADS) in trucks. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants this feedback to inform any rules it establishes for ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations, according to a Feb. 1 Federal Register notice.  

Many of the questions FMCSA poses in the document center on vehicles that are either highly automated (Level 4 automation, where human interaction is optional but not required) or fully automated (Level 5 automation, with no human involvement). 

The agency is specifically seeking feedback in three topic areas: 

  • Should carriers have to notify FMCSA if they operate Level 4 or 5 CMVs? 

  • What requirements should be imposed on remote operators? 

  • What inspection process and maintenance rules should ADS trucks follow? 

For the first topic, FMCSA is considering a requirement for “motor carriers to notify FMCSA that they will operate those CMVs in interstate commerce without a human driver behind the wheel.” 

For remote oversight, the agency whether remote operators for ADS-equipped trucks should be held to the same standards as drivers for things such as the hours-of service limitation and drug testing. 

Lastly, FMCSA wants to know stakeholders’ thoughts on whether these automated vehicles should be subject to additional inspection requirements “to reduce overall safety risk associated with this new technology and to account for their extended periods of operation without direct human observation.” 

The comment period will be open until March 20 on the rule’s page.