DOT moves forward with updated Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan

January 19, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s updated Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register this week.

Once it does, the public will have 60 days to comment on the department’s goals related to automated driving systems.

“The Comprehensive Plan describes how the U.S. DOT is working toward the safe and full integration of automated driving systems into the surface transportation system,” the notice stated. “It explains departmental goals related to automated driving systems, identifies actions being taken to meet those goals, and provides real-world examples of how these departmental actions relate to emerging automated driving systems applications.”

Although the DOT is preparing for the technology, it admits autonomous vehicles are still years away.

“Development of automated driving systems technology is occurring along multiple paths, and significant uncertainty still exists around what form automated driving systems applications will take in the future,” the notice stated. “Even with the progress the industry has made over the last decade, no vehicle equipped with an automated driving system is available for purchase in the U.S., to date. Technologies are still under development, and the deployment of automated driving systems-equipped vehicles – outside of small-scale pilots – remains years away.”

Comments received will be used to assist the DOT in planning and prioritizing its future activities regarding automation.

AV TEST Initiative

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the expansion of an automated vehicle transparency initiative to a full program.

As part of the AV TEST (Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing) Initiative, NHTSA’s online traffic tool – which provides data on testing and safety performance of automated driving systems in cities across the country – is now open to all stakeholders. Previously, nine states and nine companies participated in the AV TEST pilot. The expansion will include 52 companies, governments, and associations.

Among the new participants signed on to participate in the program are self-driving truck companies Embark, Kodiak and TuSimple.

It should be noted that information submitted by the companies is voluntary. The “safety reports” submitted to the program by Kodiak and TuSimple are more reminiscent of marketing brochures than performance data.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan focuses on three goals.

  1. Promote collaboration and transparency.
  2. Modernize the regulatory environment.
  3. Prepare the transportation system.

The updated Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan notice is scheduled for publish on Thursday, Jan. 21. LL

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Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.