Federal agencies Trucking Transportation

FMCSA asks for more input on automated driving systems for trucks and buses

Photo: mspoint/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is moving forward – and seeking feedback – on a proposed rule that would amend, revise or eliminate existing regulations to integrate commercial trucks and buses equipped with automated driving systems.

A supplemental advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Feb. 1 Federal Register requests additional information as the agency aims to expand on a May 2019 ANPRM focused on ADS-equipped vehicles.

In its Fall 2022 Unified Regulatory Agenda, FMCSA had indicated its intention to publish in January a notice of proposed rulemaking on the vehicles.

“FMCSA invites comment on additional questions and those issued in the previous ANPRM to help FMCSA assess benefits, costs and other impacts of any potential proposal issued later,” the SANPRM states.

Those additional questions include:

  • Should FMCSA require motor carriers operating Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles to notify the agency before operating those vehicles in interstate commerce without a human driver behind the wheel?
  • Before operating in interstate commerce, should motor carriers be required to submit information, data, documentation, or other evidence that demonstrates to FMCSA that motor carriers seeking to operate Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs have appropriate safety management controls in place to operate the vehicle in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and with federal requirements?
  • What data should FMCSA collect and maintain regarding Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs engaged in interstate transportation? How would such information be used and how would it improve the agency’s ability to oversee the safe operation of Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs?
  • To what extent should the federal requirements otherwise applicable to CMV drivers (such as hours-of-service limitations, drug and alcohol testing, and physical qualifications) also apply to a remote assistant who isn’t expected to take control of the dynamic driving task of an ADS-equipped CMV operating at Level 4?
  • What, if any, aspects of the remote assistant job function may require FMCSA oversight, including minimum standards and/or auditing (for example, training, physical qualifications and other job-performance related measures)?
  • Are there any specific limitations that should be imposed on the working conditions of remote assistants, such as limitations on the number of ADS-equipped CMVs that a remote assistant is simultaneously responsible for or the number of hours that a remove assistant may work?
  • Should Level 4 or 5 ADS-equipped CMVs be subject to pre-trip inspection requirements for their mechanical and ADS components in addition to those specified in 49 CFR 392.7, including those which might necessitate new inspection equipment, before such CMVs are dispatched and after a specified period of operation?
  • Under what safety situations should state inspectors and/or FMCSA receive immediate notification of an unsafe maintenance or operational issue, if any?

The deadline to comment is March 20.

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