Thursday, 07 May 2020 22:36

DOT Funds $7.5M Project for Automated Fleet Driving Systems

Written by CCJ staff


A new four-year study, led by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in partnership with a 16-member team, is seeking to provide the trucking industry, regulators and the general public with practical guidelines for safely integrating automated driving systems into current fleets.

The research is funded by a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.


“This research will accelerate the analysis of automated systems with the trucking industry,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This will improve safety and maximize the economic investments in freight and commerce.”


Additional funding is provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation and cost share from the project team members.


“The introduction of automation into heavy trucks is expected to have a profound effect. However, it is still unclear how these vehicles should best be integrated into fleet operations with conventional trucks,” said Richard Hanowski, director of VTTI’s Center for Truck and Bus Safety. “This generous grant from the Department of Transportation will enable VTTI and our partners to produce critical data to help guide rulemaking and fleet operations.”


The operational plan, formally called a fleet concept of operations, will include best practices for technology deployment, driver training, installation and maintenance, inspection procedures, insurance, roadway readiness, data and cybersecurity for automated driving systems.


Penske Transportation Solutions is the lead maintenance and vehicle supplier to the program. The company’s truck leasing and logistics business units will help spec the vehicles, and define best practices for installing and maintaining automated driving systems, and perform road tests in a delivery setting.


“We are excited to be part of this industry-leading collaboration to help identify and solve some of the challenges of deploying automated commercial trucks within a fleet setting,” said Sherry Sanger, executive vice president of marketing at Penske Transportation Solutions.


The team will work with safety technology developer Pronto to demonstrate the safe and gradual integration of various levels of advanced automation technology into fleet operations on public U.S. roadways.

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