The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) is seeking public comment on draft research test procedures to assess certain types of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). According to a document published in the Federal Register on November 21, 2019, NHTSA is looking for comment on whether nine draft research test procedures adequately assess ADAS performance in a test track environment. NHTSA 2019-25217 by Transport Topics

ADAS are electronic systems that help the vehicle driver while driving or during parking. When designed with a safe human-machine interface, they are intended to increase car safety and more generally road safety. ADAS systems use electronic technology such as microcontroller units (MCU), electronic control units (ECU), and power semiconductor devices.

The draft research test procedures pertain to both light and heavy vehicles. NHTSA categorizes any vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds, such as a truck or bus, as a heavy vehicle. For heavy vehicles, NHTSA is seeking comment on procedures related to forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems.

According to the Federal Register document, “NHTSA highlights that some of the research test procedures included in this [request for comments] are in the early stages of development, while others are closer to being fully developed.”

Each draft procedure includes scenarios replicating real-world crash situations that are meant to be performed on a test track. They include specifications on test conduct, covering equipment, facilities and instructions.

The nine draft test procedures listed in the notice are for research purposes only. NHTSA uses these procedures to evaluate technology and provide the public with a basis for which gaps in test methodology may be resolved. NHTSA is accepting public comment through Jan. 21, 2020.

Trucking companies and truckers acknowledge the need to adapt to new advancements in automation, while prioritizing safety and efficiency and growing the workforce to meet the increased demands. Policy guidelines concerning new transportation technologies are expected to be attached to comprehensive highway legislation that House transportation leaders intend to consider next year.