The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) released a stop-motion video envisioning the future of commercial motor vehicle safety technology, inspections, and enforcement.
“Thousands of enforcement officials work hard, but still, only a fraction of trucks on the road are being inspected every year. Imagine how many lives could be saved if there was a way to constantly monitor them and their drivers and take the bad ones off the road.”
The video provides an easy-to-understand visual presentation of today’s challenges and the potential solutions to those challenges, including:
- Electronic Inspections: North American Standard Level VIII Electronic Inspections and universal electronic identification.
- Automation: Autonomous technology within and around the truck cab.
- Vehicle, Driver and Pedestrian monitoring: Technologies for monitoring the inside and outside of vehicles with cameras, sensors, and radars.
- Advanced Driver Assistance Systems: Lane centering, lane keeping, automatic emergency braking, and controlled driver steering.
- Vehicle-Connectivity: vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-pedestrian, and vehicle-to-enforcement technologies.
- Alerts to Drivers: Warnings regarding inclement weather, accidents, closed roadways, bridge height restrictions, construction, road conditions, etc.
Are Level 8 Electronic “Credentials Check” Inspections Coming Soon?
The future of inspections at weigh stations is nearly here, getting caught on camera. In 2017, CVSA voted and approved definitions of a new Level 8 electronic inspection “conducted electronically or wirelessly while the vehicle is in motion without direct interaction with an enforcement officer.”
This is simply a “credential check” where, for example, carriers could be caught for not having their Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) current, though will most likely not affect safety scores as it will not be checking for flat tires or other safety issues covered in deeper inspections.
The Level 8 electronic inspection, as defined by the CVSA, would include:
- A “descriptive location, including GPS coordinates.”
- Electronic validation of the current operator, including “driver’s license class” and any endorsements, a “valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate” and, where applicable, a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate for those with medical waivers for missing limbs.
- Current hours of service status and compliance information.
- USDOT or (Canada) NSC number of the authorized carrier, power unit registration information, operating authority info, and Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) compliance information.
- Any federal out-of-service orders.
The North American Jurisdictions do not have the ability for an electronic inspection, but CVSA’s approved definitions for what such electronic inspections need is a step toward their final goal.
Officials in Canada’s Alberta province signaled their willingness to move forward with the Level 8 inspection as a policy.
The designation also follows a variety of e-inspection or expedited Level 3 demonstrations that have occurred around the United States the last several years.
Autonomous self-driving is seeing massive progress
As our sister company, CNS, discussed in a previous article, the race for Level 4 autonomy is on. Level 4 autonomy means full automation without human intervention under “defined driving conditions and applied in all markets.”
Fleets realizing economic gains from autonomy requires a new set of processes and systems designed to assure safety and provide a positive return on investment. Over time, fleets would expect to see more balanced routes and reduction in mixed traffic and commuter congestion.
If the technology is nailed, then peak hours of travel can be circumnavigated to provide greater assurance on cargo arrival times, partnered with improved safety of fellow road-users.
For long-haul truckers, many hope the slow diffusion of autonomous technology should leave plenty of time for operation optimization and the rise of new opportunities across the supply chain as the transition is made from traditional driving.
Tesla has released various components that will eventually equal the sum of Full Self Driving, including Smart Summon (slow speed in carparks), Navigate on Autopilot (high speed on freeways) and most recently, stop and go through traffic lights. The full self-driving technology will be built in with Tesla Semi that is expected to be in production in late 2021.
Vehicle-Communication Technologies Could Reduce Road Accidents By 80%
Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology is a communication framework that enables several vehicles to share information with a variety of devices supporting the highway system, such as RFID readers, signage, cameras, lane makers, streetlights, and parking meters among others.
Enabled by a network of hardware, software, and firmware, the V2I technology is typically wireless and bi-directional: information from infrastructure devices is easily transmitted to the vehicle through an ad-hoc network and vice versa.
V2I sensors are used in intelligent transportation system (ITS) to capture data and issue road users with real-time advisories about various incidents on the road: traffic congestions, construction sites, road conditions, parking zones et al.
Over 80% of road accidents could be avoided by adopting advanced vehicle connectivity, and technology firms and automakers are gearing up to develop vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) systems to improve safety and sanity on the roads.