Trucking Simulator Study To Analyze Safety Impacts Between Human and Automated Driving System (ADS) in CMVs

Truck Driving Simulator Study To Analyze Safety Impacts Between Human and Automated Driving System (ADS) in CMVs

Over the past 15 years, ADS technology has innovated rapidly as more manufacturers and technology companies move toward higher levels of automation (i.e., SAE ‘‘L4’’). But it is not fully clear how human drivers will team with ADS-equipped trucks.

This notice from the FMCSA invites comments on a driving simulator study with a series of questionnaires that will quantify the safety implications of team driving applications between humans and ADS equipped commercial motor vehicles (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 the human factors surrounding team driving applications between humans and ADS-equipped CMVs.

The study will assess the safety benefits and disbenefits of human-ADS team driving applications and support the analysis of potential requests for relief from FMCSA’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.

So, what does this mean?

What is L4 ADS and these “team driving applications”?

Level 4 Automated Driving System equipped CMVs are capable of all functions and controls necessary for driving without human monitoring in limited conditions, and the human driver will not be asked to take control of the vehicle.

Currently, there are at least four use cases where a human may team with an ADS equipped CMV (“team driving applications”):

  1. In-vehicle driver teams with an ADS CMV;
  2. In-vehicle driver teams with a following ADS-equipped CMV;
  3. In-vehicle driver teams with a remote human to monitor and control an ADS CMV; and
  4. Remote monitor/operator teaming with ADS CMV.

Each of the teaming use cases above offers different potential human factors benefits and challenges.

However, it is unclear how each human-ADS teaming use case will affect safety, productivity, and efficiency.

Each teaming combination may positively or negatively affect a driver’s cognitive workload and level of fatigue, alertness, or distraction compared to the case of a traditional driver in a truck without ADS.

For example, the in-vehicle drivers and remote monitors/operators in the above teaming use cases may experience varying workloads and differences in the development of fatigue.

How will the study work?

The purpose for obtaining data in this study is to quantify safety implications of the four human-ADS teaming use cases described above.

Specifically, this project will provide data to assess the safety benefits and disbenefits on human-ADS teaming scenarios:

  • driver use, workload, fatigue, alertness, and distraction when teaming with an ADS;
  • remote operator use, workload, fatigue, alertness, and distraction while actively monitoring and/or controlling an ADS-equipped truck;
  • driver reengagement to the driving task after ADS or remote operator control; and
  • fleet acceptance and future integration possibilities.

Additionally, data from this study will support the analysis of potential requests for relief from FMCSA’s HOS regulations under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 49 CFR part 381.

The study includes data collection from a series of questionnaires and a driving-simulator focused experiment.

The survey data will be used in two ways:

  1. In the assessment of driving performance data as covariates in the model (to control for certain demographic variables, such as age, gender, and experience), and
  2. To answer research questions on the human factors and the relationship between the safety benefits of each of the four human-ADS team driving applications.

Data on workload, fatigue, alertness, inattention, and performance will be collected from the simulator 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.

Want to join the study or make comments?

FMCSA anticipates 80 participants in total for the driving simulator study. Data will be collected over one study session lasting up to 17 hours.

Questionnaire data will be collected prior to the simulator study, during the simulator study, and after the simulator study. All questionnaires will be preloaded in an app format for drivers to complete on a tablet.

Comments on this notice must be received on or before August 7, 2023.

You are asked to comment on any aspect of this information collection, including:

  1. Whether the proposed collection is necessary for the performance of FMCSA’s functions;
  2. The accuracy of the estimated burden;
  3. Ways for FMCSA to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information; and
  4. Ways that the burden could be minimized without reducing the quality of the collected information.

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