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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Research on Sensor Performance for Automated Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Applications


To conduct performance and maintenance research for add-on sensors that support various levels of automation in CMVs.


Automated CMVs, currently still in the implementation and testing process, require additional sensors to “observe” their driving environment. Many of these sensors (radar, light detection and ranging [LIDAR], cameras, etc.) are mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. These sensors must be calibrated and maintained such that they perform adequately for automated operation. Dirt, rain, snow, bugs, and object strikes can all affect a sensor’s performance. While not a required roadside inspection component, these sensors, which are self-calibrating at startup, should undergo a visual inspection to verify cleanliness and proper mounting.


This project will involve outreach to vehicle automation companies for input regarding best practices for adequate safe performance of relevant sensors. Additionally, sensor manufacturers will be contacted regarding sensor upkeep and optimum conditions. Researchers will also review current sensor technologies that support automation and current calibration processes.


Final report and best practices.



October 2017: Kick-off meeting
November 2017: Review of current technologies
May 2018: Draft guidance document
December 2018: Conduct final briefing
January 2019: Submit final report


FY17 Funding: $380,561

Current Status:

Project completed; report in Agency review.

Project Manager:

For more information, contact Brian Routhier of the Technology Division at (202) 366-1225 or


Virginia Tech Transportation Institute