In a major new policy document from the Department of Transportation, Automated Vehicles 3.0: Preparing for the Future of Transportation, Secretary Elaine Chao advances infrastructure plans to serve the global supply chain. This 65 page tome should be carefully read and examined for clues about the future of transportation in America. The phrase “private sector” appears 29 times, indicating the key role that private industry and public-private partnerships will play in our future.
I am including three sections from the report to give you an idea of where Chao is headed.
Automated Vehicles 3.0
Letter from the Secretary
America has always been a leader in transportation innovation. From the mass production of automobiles to global positioning system navigation, American ingenuity has transformed how we travel and connect with one another. With the development of automated vehicles, American creativity and innovation hold the potential to once again transform mobility.
Automation has the potential to improve our quality of life and enhance the mobility and independence of millions of Americans, especially older Americans and people with disabilities.
Moreover, the integration of automation across our transportation system has the potential to increase productivity and facilitate freight movement. But most importantly, automation has the potential to impact safety significantly— by reducing crashes caused by human error, including crashes involving impaired or distracted drivers, and saving lives.
Along with potential benefits, however, automation brings new challenges that need to be addressed. The public has legitimate concerns about the safety, security, and privacy of automated technology. So I have challenged Silicon Valley and other innovators to step up and help address these concerns and help inform the public about the benefits of automation. In addition, incorporating these technologies into our transportation systems may impact industries, creating new kinds of jobs. This technology evolution may also require workers in transportation fields to gain new skills and take on new roles. As a society, we must help prepare workers for this transition.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking active steps to prepare for the future by engaging with new technologies to ensure safety without hampering innovation. With the release of Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety in September 2017, the Department provided voluntary guidance to industry, as well as technical assistance and best practices to States, offering a path forward for the safe testing and integration of automated driving systems. The Department also bolstered its engagement with the automotive industry, technology companies, and other key transportation stakeholders and innovators to continue to develop a policy framework that facilitates the safe integration of this technology into our transportation systems.
Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0) is another milestone in the Department’s development of a flexible, responsible approach to a framework for multimodal automation. It introduces guiding principles and describes the Department’s strategy to address existing barriers to safety innovation and progress. It also communicates the Department’s agenda to the public and stakeholders on important policy issues, and identifies opportunities for cross-modal collaboration.
The Department is committed to engaging stakeholders to identify and solve policy issues. Since the publication of Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety, the Department has sought input on automation issues from stakeholders and the general public through a wide range of forums including formal Requests for Information and Comments. In March 2018, I hosted the Automated Vehicle Summit to present the Department’s six Automation Principles and discuss automation issues with public and private sector transportation stakeholders across every mode. The ideas and issues raised by stakeholders through these forums are reflected in this document. The goal of the Department is to keep pace with these rapidly evolving technologies so America remains a global leader in safe automation technology.
AV 3.0 is the beginning of a national discussion about the future of our surface transportation system. Your voice is essential to shaping this future.
Signed: Elaine Chao
p. 17 – Automation to Support Intermodal Port Facility Operations
Automation has the potential to transform the Nation’s freight transportation system, a vital asset that supports every sector of the economy. Intermodal port facilities could benefit from applications of automation, enabling more seamless transfers of goods and a less strenuous experience for operators. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) and FMCSA are jointly exploring how SAE Level 4 truck automation might improve operations at intermodal port facilities. Currently at many of the Nation’s busiest ports, commercial vehicle drivers must wait in slow-moving queues for hours to pick up or deliver a load. MARAD and FMCSA are evaluating how automation might relieve the burden on a driver under these circumstances, and, in particular, the regulatory and economic feasibility of using automated truck queueing as a technology solution to truck staging, access, and parking issues at ports. The study will investigate whether full or partial automation of queuing within ports could lead to increased productivity by altering the responsibilities and physical presence of drivers, potentially allowing them to be off-duty during the loading and unloading process.
p. 31 – Work Zone Data Exchanges
The Work Zone Data Exchange project responds to priorities identified by public and private sector stakeholders. The goal is to develop a harmonized specification for work zone data that infrastructure owners and operators can make available as open feeds that automated vehicles and others can use.
Accurate and up-to-date information about dynamic conditions occurring on the roads—such as work zones—can help automated vehicles navigate safely and efficiently. Many infrastructure owners and operators maintain data on work zone activity, but a common specification for this type of data does not currently exist. This makes it difficult and costly for third parties—including vehicle manufacturers and makers of navigation applications—to access and use work zone data across various jurisdictions.
Several State DOT agencies and private companies are voluntarily participating in the project, with U.S. DOT acting as a technical facilitator. U.S. DOT has been working with these partners to help define the core data elements that should be included in an initial work zone specification and to determine what types of technical assistance the data producers will need to implement it, expand it over time, and address broader work zone data management challenges.