Employers who may be considering the use of commercial motor vehicles with automated driving systems (ADS) take note: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants to hear from you.
On Feb. 1, the FMCSA published its supplemental advance notice of proposed rulemaking on Safe Integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS)-Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicles. This rulemaking includes a request for public comment about factors that the agency should consider when amending its regulations to include ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles, according to law firm Hogan Lovells.
Focus is on Level 4 and 5 automation
The focus of the notice is on Level 4 and 5 ADS-equipped vehicles, which control all aspects of the dynamic driving task without any human intervention.
FMCSA adopted the levels of automation from SAE International’s J3016, according to the notice, and noted that ADS-equipped vehicles pose additional safety risks that require either modification, or adoption, of new standards.
At this time, the FMCSA doesn’t anticipate the need to address integration of lower levels of automation because a human driver is still required to be behind the wheel at all times to take over driving tasks.
The FMCSA wants comments specifically about:
- notification requirement prior to operating Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped vehicles
- demonstrating safety management controls
- type of data collected and maintained
- remote drive oversight, and
- vehicle inspection and maintenance.
Potential ADS users may be required to notify of intent to use
One thing to take special note of is that FMCSA is considering a requirement for motor carriers to notify the agency of any intention to operate commercial motor vehicles without a human driver so it can monitor those operations.
The agency is also looking for comments on oversight for remote assistants in Level 4 automated driving. FMCSA feels that a human driver may be needed when a Level 4 vehicle reaches its operational design domain limit.
These remote assistants could also interact with law enforcement and other officials for Level 4 and 5 operations. The agency is also questioning whether additional inspections would be required for these vehicles. It would also like to know if there are any other challenges resulting from use of a vehicle that doesn’t have a constant human presence during operation.
Comments are due March 20, 2023, and can be submitted online here.