The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is planning to gather information on the industry’s opinion of autonomous trucks. It is not asking whether or not autonomous trucks should be allowed. Instead, FMCSA is looking for ways to convince fleets, brokers, shippers, engineers, and even drivers that Automated Driving Systems (ADS) should be integrated into “the road freight ecosystem” as quickly as possible.
FMCSA published their notice of New Information Collection in the Federal Register.
FMCSA is worried that because people don’t currently understand or have a friendly view of autonomous trucks that they may not transition to ADS quickly enough. This, FMCSA claims, would result “in the delayed achievement of safety, productivity, and efficiency benefits of ADS-equipped trucks.”
The proposed project is called “Trucking Fleet Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for Managing Mixed Fleets.” A survey would be conducted at four trucking industry conferences. Data would be collected form two thousand “CMV drivers, CMV fleet managers, industry engineers, CMV sales personnel, researchers, and State and Federal government personnel.”
Participants would fill out a questionnaire regarding their “baseline” opinions of ADS technology. They would then participate in a “hands-on” demonstration. After, they would fill out a second questionnaire to see how their opinions had changed. The whole experience is designed to take less than five minutes.
FMCSA plans to use that data to create a “rigorous, data driven CONOPS.” With that, they hope to be able to answer the question they say is frequently being asked by trucking executives: “How can I integrate ADS into my fleet operations?”
If you’d like to make a comment on the FMCSA’s plan, you can do so on the federal register website.