WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking for truck drivers to help evaluate distractions while driving trucks equipped with autonomous technology.
The research will assess driver readiness when assuming control of trucks of level-2 and level-3 autonomous technology, a news release stated.
“The research is taking place because the government has found knowledge lacking as far as real-world implementation of autonomous technology equipped commercial vehicles,” according to the news release.
Level 2 vehicles are equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These vehicles can control both steering and accelerating/decelerating but falls short of self-driving because a human sits in the driver’s seat and can take control of the car at any time.
Level 3 vehicles are equipped with “environmental detection” capabilities and can make informed decisions for themselves, such as accelerating past a slow-moving vehicle.
These still require human override, and the driver must remain alert and ready to take control if the system is unable to execute the task.
“Lower levels of automated driving system (ADS)-equipped CMVs present an environment that is ripe for overreliance,” according to the Department of Transportation. “When an L3 vehicle alerts the driver that a takeover is required, the driver needs to have situational awareness to resume full control of the vehicle. Engagement in non-driving secondary tasks may prevent the driver from maintaining situational awareness of the driving environment.”
A recently completed study by FMCSA found a lack of research related to ADS-equipped CMVs. To date, most commercial ADSs on U.S. roadways are in passenger vehicles, and CMV ADSs are only recently being implemented in real-world operations. Therefore, FMCSA needs more data on ADS-equipped CMVs to understand driver behavior and policy implications.
The FMCSA is looking for 100 drivers to participate in the experiment. Eligible drivers will hold a valid commercial driver’s license, currently drive a CMV, be 21 years of age or older, and pass the motion sickness history screening questionnaire.
“We anticipate 100 participants in total for the driving simulator study. Fifty drivers will participate in the L2 study sessions, and the other 50 drivers will participate in the L3 study sessions,” DOT officials said. “During consent, each participant will agree to participate in both the L2/L3 simulator study session and the training study session.”
Data will be collected over two study sessions. The first study session will collect data on the effects of non-driving secondary tasks and readiness to resume control the CMVs.
The second study session will assess the effectiveness of driver training to improve safety while operating an L2 or L3 CMV.
“Questionnaire data will be collected prior to the simulator study, during the simulator study, and after the simulator study,” the DOT said. “In addition, participants will complete questionnaires about the training in the second study session. All questionnaires will be preloaded in an app format for drivers to complete on a tablet.
According to FMCSA’s most current significant rulemaking report, the agency aims to issue the proposed proposed rule on integrating ADS-equipped trucks onto roads and highways in November.
For more information, contact Theresa Hallquist at the Office of Research and Registration, DOT, FMCSA, West Building 6th Floor, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C., 20590-0001.
E-mail: [email protected]
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