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Commercial Motor Vehicle Roadside Technology Consortium (CMVRTC)

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Roadside Technology Consortium (CMVRTC) is a partnership of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), State departments of safety and transportation, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Tennessee. Together, this consortium works to enable FMCSA testing of current, new-to-market, and emerging commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety technologies and to promote their usage and acceptance by the transportation industry.

Background

In August of 2007, FMCSA launched the Commercial Motor Vehicle Roadside Technology Corridor, in partnership with the Tennessee Departments of Safety and Transportation, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the University of Tennessee. In October of 2013, the CMVRTC expanded to include Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Mississippi. The name of the group has recently changed from the Commercial Motor Vehicle Roadside Technology Corridor to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Roadside Technology Consortium.

The CMVRTC is managed by FMCSA's Office of Analysis, Research, and Technology via an interagency agreement with ORNL, the largest science and energy national laboratory in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) system, by acreage. Since 2007, the Office of Analysis, Research, and Technology has established internal partnerships with the Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, and the Office of Safety Programs (at the U.S. Department of Transportation's headquarters in Washington, D.C.) and with the Southern Service Center in the field. The CMVRTC is available to these and other FMCSA offices with management support provided by ORNL. The Office of Analysis, Research, and Technology has established an external partnership with DOE's Office of Energy, Efficiency, and Renewable Energy to collect CMV safety sensor data from DOE partner fleets. This data will be used to support the objectives of the CMVRTC.

The Vision

The vision of the CMVRTC is to have a series of specially-equipped testing facilities at weigh stations to demonstrate, test, evaluate, and showcase innovative safety technologies under real-world conditions in order to improve commercial truck and bus safety. Additionally, the CMVRTC plays a prominent role in supporting the Agency?s technology transfer activities, enabling the accelerated deployment of proven safety technologies.

Goals

  • To showcase inspection technologies and highlight their systematic integration with existing enforcement operations and highway information systems by our State partners and to collect data on CMV safety technologies of interest and assess their viability for deployment.
  • To provide a technology transfer function for new-to-market and emerging technologies by collecting operational data for the development of functional specifications to support Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grant applications.
  • To collect data to support FMCSA enforcement and compliance programs, State safety programs, policy research, and future rulemaking activities.

Technology Transfer

The CMVRTC has a technology transfer function to aid in the adoption and use of safety technologies by key stakeholders. Specifically, the CMVRTC provides FMCSA with data and supporting information to facilitate:

  • Regulation (rulemaking and pursuant legislation).
  • Promotion (unbiased marketing of technology, e.g., Web site, product guides).
  • Provisioning (via grants, providing funding to States for technology).

FMCSA has aligned future CMVRTC testing and related activities via an overarching methodology that dictates the planning, documentation, and execution of CMVRTC activities in a way that outputs the needed technology transfer tools (validations, specifications, certifications, and safety outcomes).

Validation

Validation will be accomplished via testing (i.e., proof of concept [POC] testing, pilot tests, and field operational tests [FOTs]) using a prescribed test plan. It will involve data collection, analysis, and reporting to determine the technology?s robustness, capability, and user acceptance. The data from the validation will be used to determine the safety outcome.

Specifications

Specifications will be generated in conjunction with the experiences from data gathering and results tabulation during the validation process. This activity seeks to develop a set of functional specifications that may be used to procure a given technology via MCSAP funding or other funding sources, such as direct State purchase. The needs of this output will feed the validation test plan.

Certification

Certification will be granted to technologies/systems that validate their ability to meet established functional specifications. Testing criteria will be developed and testing will be conducted to support certification or non-certification of a given technology or system.

Safety Outcomes

Safety outcomes will be assessed by contrasting and correlating the data from the validation process against other related data gathered within the CMVRTC and against vehicle flow and conventional vehicle enforcement data. This process seeks to show the benefit(s) (positive or negative) that could be gained by implementing a given technology. The needs of this output will also feed the validation test plan.

The CMVRTC has six core functions designed to provide these outputs, as shown in the following table.

CMVRTC Core Functions and Output

Core Function Scale of Effort Entry Criteria Key Outputs/Exit Criteria
Technology Down-selection
  • Dependent upon sponsor needs
  • FMCSA Need
  • Technology Grant
  • Down-selection recommendations for FMCSA selection
POC Testing
  • One or two systems
  • Short duration
  • Relatively low cost
  • Very limited testing
  • Repurposed commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology
  • Unproven technology
  • Technology demonstration
  • Feasibility evaluation (Validation)
Pilot Testing
  • Several systems
  • Longer duration
  • Controlled testing of a few perturbations
  • Technology concepts which have been somewhat proven
  • Successful prior POC
  • Determination / recommendations regarding potential for large-scale implementation
FOT
  • Large scale testing
  • Real-world testing environment
  • Off-the-shelf (including new-to-the market) technology
  • Deployment-ready or production-ready technology
  • Successful prior pilot test and/or POC
  • Functional specifications
  • Usage/implementation recommendations
  • Safety outcomes
Technology Certification
  • Dependent on number of technology vendors
  • Once vendors have responded to the functional specification, testing will take place to validate that offering meetings the specification
  • Testing criteria
  • Certification
Demonstration Projects
  • Dependent upon sponsor needs
  • Viable technology and/or partnerships
  • Demonstration unit
  • Demonstration event(s)

Current Technology Initiatives

The following technology initiatives are currently being pursued:

  • Wireless Roadside Inspection Program.
  • Brake Defect and Causations Study.
  • Infrared-based Screening System Project.

The Wireless Roadside Inspection (WRI) Program

This program is designed to demonstrate technology that will ultimately increase the number of CMV safety inspections (now at about 3,400,000 inspections per year) on par with or exceeding CMV weight inspections (now at about 177,000,000 inspections per year).Currently in an FOT setting (the final of three phases), the WRI system retrieves safety data in real-time, including:

  • Real-time identification of the driver.
  • Real-time identification of the carrier.
  • Real-time identification of the vehicle.
  • Real-time (and historic) hours-of-service (HOS) information (driver logbook).
  • Real-time information about the condition of the vehicle.

The major benefits expected from the WRI program include:

  • Increased safety by decreasing the number of unsafe CMVs and drivers on U.S. roadways.
  • Increased efficiency by enabling a significant increase in CMV inspections with the same number of enforcement personnel.
  • Improved motor carrier safety performance measurement by providing an automatic means to assess and record driver and vehicle inspections at congested inspection stations where safe operators are often screened for safety, but credit for a positive inspection is not always recorded due to operational constraints.
  • Improved motor carrier industry productivity by reducing inspection stops for safe and legal vehicles, targeting unsafe or illegal operators for enforcement, and improving safety performance measures.

Brake Defect and Causations Study

Performance-based brake testers (PBBTs) are devices that can be used to evaluate the braking capability of a vehicle through the measurement of the brake force developed as a function of weight as the vehicle engages in a braking event while on the PBBT machine. PBBT machines have been in operation since the 1930s. On April 7, 2007, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) approved an amendment to the North American Standard (NAS) Out-of-Service (OOS) Criteria to allow a total vehicle score of less than 43.5 brake efficiency (BE) (total brake force as a percentage of gross vehicle or combination weight) to be grounds to remove that CMV from service. Since April 7, 2007, enforcement agencies, including the Tennessee Highway Patrol, have used the PBBT machine to place CMVs OOS.

While many causes of vehicle test failures (failure to achieve a 43.5 BE or greater overall PBBT score) are known (i.e. brakes out of adjustment, inadequate supply air, insufficient lining thickness), statistically significant data does not exist relative to the causation of PBBT machine OOS conditions or non-OOS vehicle brake defects.

Furthermore, there is little information available that documents specific corrective actions or validation of true abatement of the initial causation.

This study intends to track and document a defective vehicle from the initial PBBT machine test failure (including the non-OOS ?failure? of a wheel end) through the repair process and then on to a validation of repair. The process will be repeated until the PBBT failure correction is validated.

Infrared-based Screening System Project

An infrared-based screening system (IBSS) is a tool designed to assist inspectors in determining which CMV passing through an inspection facility may require further inspection. This is accomplished by measuring thermal data from the wheel components. As a CMV travels through the system, infrared cameras mounted on the roadside measure temperatures of the brakes, tires, and wheel bearings on both wheel ends of the vehicle. This thermal data is analyzed internally before being presented on a user-friendly interface to enforcement personnel inside the inspection station. Vehicles that are suspected to have a defect are automatically alerted to the enforcement staff.

The goal of the project is to develop a performance specification document for use as a guideline by jurisdictions desiring to purchase an IBSS. The IBSS would be purchased through grant funds or directly with State operating funds. Its use would be focused on screening CMVs for potential brake, wheel bearing, and tire pressure defects. Vehicles identified by the system would be given a high priority for selection for a subsequent NAS Level 2 or Level 3 safety inspection and/or a PBBT inspection. The IBSS is expected to be used in existing CMV inspection facilities.

Current Activities

The latest information on the consortium and its projects may be found by clicking the link above to Technology Consortium News, the newsletter of the CMVRTC.

Updated: Wednesday, July 2, 2014