Via Waymo

On Tuesday, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) detailed sweeping new protocols for inspecting autonomous trucks.

Following “years” of meetings, discussions, and development, the CVSA has approved the launch of the “brand-new Enhanced Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspection Program” for autonomous or driverless trucks.

The CVSA says that the current standard for “driver-operated commercial motor vehicles” of a pre-trip and post-trip inspection along with roadside or weigh station inspections is “challenging” for commercial motor vehicles equipped with automated driving systems (ADS).

In response to these challenges, the CVSA’s new inspection program “establishes a no-defect, point-of-origin inspection program for ADS-equipped commercial motor vehicles.”

The CVSA details the new inspection procedure for driverless trucks:

For the new program, rather than the driver conducting a pre-trip inspection (as is currently done), for ADS vehicles, CVSA-trained motor carrier personnel will conduct the Enhanced CMV Inspection Procedure on selected ADS-equipped vehicles from their fleets at the point of origin before dispatch, as well as in-transit inspections at a dictated interval throughout the trip. Once on the road, the ADS vehicle would be required to communicate to law enforcement while in-motion that it passed the origin/destination inspection, its automated driving systems (as a whole) are functioning, and it is operating within its operational design domain. Those ADS vehicles will then bypass fixed inspection sites. En-route roadside inspections of ADS vehicles by law enforcement officials would be limited to situations where an imminent hazard is observed or during a post-crash investigation. In addition, all ADS vehicles must be able to respond to law enforcement should an officer attempt to pull over a vehicle. Any truck or trailer or commercial motor vehicle combination that fails the Enhanced CMV Inspection Procedure at the point of dispatch must be repaired.

The CVSA says that the new inspection program also includes a 40 hour training program for motor carrier personnel.

“This enhanced inspection procedure for driverless commercial motor vehicles will ensure the highest level of safety and provide law enforcement with the information they need to be confident about the roadworthiness of autonomous trucks operating on our roadways,” said CVSA President Maj. Chris Nordloh with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“Enhanced CMV inspections will raise the bar for road safety while giving law enforcement increased transparency into autonomous truck operations,” said Ariel Wolf, general counsel for the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association. “We’re thankful to CVSA for developing this new standard in close collaboration with industry, and we look forward to continuing this partnership as we prepare for the program’s implementation in states nationwide.”

“ATA was pleased to work with CVSA, our automated truck suppliers and industry partners in developing an enhanced inspection policy for driverless commercial vehicles,” said Kevin Grove, director of safety and technology policy for the American Trucking Associations (ATA). “This is an important step that will facilitate safe and effective deployment of automation.”

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