The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released new research that identifies both the positive and negative impacts associated with numerous government policies, programs and regulations that target autonomous truck development and testing. ATRI’s study proposes a framework by which autonomous truck standards could be developed.
This study was identified as the top research priority for the industry by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee in 2018.
More specifically, the report documents the dozens of local, state and federal activities that guide and regulate autonomous truck activities. While most attempt to create a framework for the safe testing of autonomous trucks, the myriad state and local activities ultimately impede the creation of a seamless and standardized autonomous truck (AT) network. Even those government rules that ostensibly support autonomous truck development often are too prescriptive to generate meaningful outcomes. For example, multiple vendors highlight Level 4 testing, even though regulations require constant control of the vehicles by both drivers and onboard engineers – making it difficult for motor carrier executives to accurately assess the real value of ATs.
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With automated vehicles comes increased risks of a cyberattack. As the report notes “cyberattacks associated with network vulnerabilities and user error resulted in $300 million in lost earnings at one national freight company, and a loss of $200-300 million at an international shipping company”. As such, Federal groups have taken steps to ensure the cybersecurity of stakeholders in areas impacted by cyber threats. The Department of Justice has taken steps to ensure the security of AV technology, including enforcing laws in cyberspace, and research and development of best practices. Both NHTSA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) issued non-binding best practices for cybersecurity.
“The pace of technology development in the autonomous truck sphere is moving at lightning speed,” said Jeff Reed, Skyline Transportation President and chair of the ATA Automated Truck Subcommittee. “Our industry needs states to collaborate on seamless policies and regulations, and we need more proactive federal guidance on AT development. Government activities at all levels must be dynamic enough to address the constantly evolving technology landscape.”
You can download the report – Redefining the Role of Government Activities in Automated Trucking – from ATRI’s website at truckingresearch.org
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