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Model AV Operational Safety Plan for Motor Carriers


Project Goal:

The objective of this project is to develop a model automated CMV operational safety plan for motor carriers.  Such a plan must consider the specific automation technologies to be implemented and how the CMV is to be operated.  The vehicle operational design domain (ODD) and staffing requirements may vary for different phases of its journey.  For example, a CMV may be unoccupied during platooning operations on a limited-access highway, inspected by a technician upon exit from the highway, and docked at a warehouse either autonomously, manually by a driver with a commercial driver's license (CDL), or through teleoperation.  Therefore, the model AV safety plan should be modular and consider the system safety operational requirements determined by the technology developer.


The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) has been providing technical support to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Office of Analysis, Research, and Technology in the test and independent evaluation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), automated driving systems (ADS), and cooperative driving automation (CDA) for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).  CDA technologies enable novel features, not achievable by individual ADS-operated vehicles operating independently of each other, by sharing information that can be used to increase safety, efficiency, and reliability of the surface transportation system.  The Volpe Center has supported FMCSA’s Automated CMV Evaluation (ACE) program in test and demonstration planning, test execution, and data analysis.  The ACE program is a multi-faceted research, development, and test program that leverages government, academic, and industry partnerships.  It focuses on roadside inspections of ADS-equipped CMVs, training of enforcement personnel, CMV ADAS, ADS, CDA performance measures of safety effectiveness, CMV driver readiness for advanced technologies, CMV platooning, and CMV cybersecurity.

This project continues the ongoing Volpe Center’s technical support to the FMCSA ACE program


Motor carriers will implement a wide range of automation technologies into automated CMVs.  Automation features for CMVs are contemplated at all SAE Automation Levels.  The integration of higher level (Levels 3 and 4) features into fleet operations will require careful consideration by motor carriers.  The design, build, operation, maintenance, and inspection of hardware and the training, qualification, relative location, and hours of service of human drivers and operators will all influence a motor carrier’s safety management systems.

This project will examine the aspects of the developer’s safety case for automated truck features that motor carriers integrate into their automated vehicle operations safety plan.  The safety case is based on automotive industry standards including ISO 26262 (Road Vehicles — Functional Safety), UL4600 (Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products), ISO/PAS 21448 (Safety Of The Intended Functionality), and applicable ISO/SAE standards and guidelines.