FMCSA Studying Autonomous Commercial Vehicles

Federal regulators plan to study whether automated driving systems (ADS) can foster complacency in commercial drivers. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plans to recruit 100 commercial drivers for a simulation to test driver readiness in vehicles with various levels of autonomy, according to a Sept. 21 Federal Register notice

The notice reads that there’s a lack of research on ADS-equipped CMVs, with most of the ADS research being done on passenger vehicles thus far. The simulation will test participants operating vehicles with partial automation (designated L2 by the Society of Automotive Engineers) to control steering, acceleration and braking; and those with conditional automation (L3) in which the vehicle controls most tasks, but the driver must be ready to take control. 

The purpose of the study is to “evaluate driver readiness to assume control” in L2 and L3 ADS-equipped trucks and to test a driver distraction training program designed to improve driver readiness. The results of both are intended to inform policy. 

FMCSA’s most recent significant rulemaking report projects a November publication date of a proposed rule on integrating ADS-equipped trucks onto roadways.