OOIDA: AV 4.0 perpetuates lack of ‘substantive data’ for autonomous tech
April 3, 2020
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest autonomous vehicle guidance, AV 4.0, issued earlier this year lacks “substantive data to support its ‘vision,’” the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association states in submitted comments.
On Thursday, April 2, OOIDA submitted official comments for the “Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0,” better known as AV 4.0. While AV 2.0 focused on industry and AV 3.0 introduced other modes into the conversation, including commercial vehicles, AV 4.0 is more of a guide explaining which federal departments are addressing which areas of automated vehicles.
In its comments, OOIDA states that AV 4.0 just continues the shortcomings found in AV 3.0. More specifically, “AV 3.0 lacked substantive data to support its ‘vision,’ and prematurely proposed eliminating a human driver from operating an automated CMV,” OOIDA states. AV 4.0 makes no changes regarding those concerns.
Also found in AV 4.0, is the controversial voluntary safety-assessments for manufacturers. Many stakeholders, including Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, feel the voluntary self-assessments are not enough. OOIDA states they “will not effectively build public trust, acceptance, and confidence in the testing and deployment of AVs.” As of publication, only 19 of about 80 autonomous vehicle manufacturers have submitted a self-assessment.
With truckers likely to be among the first to experience any shortcomings in real-world applications, OOIDA encouraged the U.S. DOT to look deeply into how autonomous technology will affect the industry.
“Clearly, DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must continue learning more about the impacts that AVs will have on the trucking industry,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer stated in comments. “As such, OOIDA is supportive of DOT’s efforts to discover how AVs might impact the CMV workforce.”
Trucking and AV 4.0
Although AV 4.0 deals with automated vehicles in general terms, there are some areas more relevant to the trucking industry.
Regarding research, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is conducting research to increase understanding of the human factors of automated vehicles. Furthermore, FHWA research addresses driver readiness, the human-machine interface, adaptation to advanced technologies and communication with others outside the vehicle.
Other areas of research conducted by FMCSA includes performance of sensors, brakes and tires in autonomous trucks. FMCSA also is looking into truck platooning, emergency response and roadside inspections as they pertain to autonomous trucks.
Addressing potential job displacement, several departments are collaborating on research on the impact of AV technology on the driver workforce. Those departments include DOT, Health and Human Services, Department of Labor and Department of Commerce.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy has funded the SuperTruck II program. The effort’s goal is to develop innovative, cost-effective technology that can increase Class 8 truck fuel efficiency by 100%. The DOE has also invested $5 million in truck platooning technology.