CVSA launches enhanced inspection program for self-driving trucks – Safety and Compliance

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The new CVSA program includes an enhanced inspection standard and procedure for motor carriers operating autonomous vehicles, as well as a 40-hour CVSA training course and exam for motor carrier personnel who will perform the inspections.

Photo: Kodiak Robotics


An all-new “enhanced” commercial vehicle inspection program developed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will govern standardized inspections of commercial vehicles equipped with Automated Driving Systems (ADS), also known as autonomous or driverless vehicles.

This enhanced program for motor carriers “represents years of meetings, discussions and development of the CVSA Enforcement and Industry Modernization Committee and the Automated Vehicle Task Force, as well as procedural testing , adjustments and retesting of the new and improved inspection program for commercial engines equipped with ADS vehicles,” CVSA said in a press release.

Industry-wide collaborative effort

According to CVSA, the program is the culmination of commercial motor vehicle and state highway patrol inspectors, inspection and enforcement experts, motor carrier representatives, the self-driving trucking development community and federal and state officials “working collaboratively to develop specific commercial motor vehicle inspection standards. the unique needs, requirements and challenges of ADS-equipped commercial vehicles. »

With today’s driver-driven trucks, the driver performs a pre-trip and post-trip inspection. The driver may be required to pass through a weigh/inspection station and/or be stopped at the roadside and may be subject to a North American CVSA standard inspection. However, CVSA observed that roadside inspection/weigh station environments are “challenging for ADS-equipped vehicles, and these utility vehicles are not compatible with today’s roadside inspections, which rely on the driver assistance”.

To overcome this hurdle, the new and improved CMV program establishes “a zero-defect point-of-origin inspection program for commercial vehicles equipped with ADS.” The program includes an enhanced inspection standard and procedure for motor carriers operating ADS vehicles, as well as a 40-hour CVSA training course and exam for motor carrier personnel who will perform the inspections.

Deployment campaign for the new procedure underway

“The first batch of transportation personnel was trained in June, and the industry is working with our law enforcement partners to launch enhanced CMV inspection programs in states,” said Daniel Goff, manager. External Affairs of Kodiak Robotics and President of ATA Technology. & Maintenance Council’s Autonomous Truck Inspections and Enforcement Task Force, HDT told.

“We expect the first test programs to be implemented by the end of the year,” he said. “The full enhanced program is designed around driverless vehicles, however, so even if the industry has in-cab safety drivers, it will still be subject to traditional inspection programs. [as well].”

Inspection program nuts and bolts

Where a fleet has the new program in place, rather than the driver performing a pre-departure inspection for automated vehicles, CVSA-trained motor carrier personnel will perform the enhanced CMV inspection procedure on certain ADS-equipped vehicles from their fleets at the point of origin before shipment, as well as in-transit inspections at a dictated interval throughout the voyage.

Once on the road, the truck would be required to communicate to law enforcement as it travels that it has passed origin/destination inspection; that its automated driving systems (“as a whole”) are functioning and that they operate within their operational design domain. These automated vehicles will then bypass the fixed inspection sites.

Additionally, en-route roadside inspections of self-driving trucks by law enforcement would be limited to situations in which imminent danger is observed or during a post-crash investigation. Additionally, all ADS vehicles should be able to react if a law enforcement officer attempts to stop a vehicle. And any VMC truck, trailer or package that fails the enhanced VMC inspection procedure at the shipping point should be repaired before hitting the road.

Not the same as a Level VIII moving inspection

Goff of Kodiak Robotics explained that this new and improved program is not the same as Level VIII inspections of autonomous vehicles.

“Level VIII inspections are performed electronically or wirelessly while the vehicle is in motion without direct interaction with a law enforcement officer,” Goff told HDT. “The Enhanced CMV program requires a new type of enhanced inspection, conducted by a CVSA-trained inspector, to be performed prior to a trip. This robust 30-40 minute pre-departure inspection will then allow ADS-equipped vehicles to bypass sites fixed inspections.

CVSA Chairman Chris Nordloh of the Texas Department of Public Safety noted in a statement that the enhanced inspection procedure for driverless utility vehicles “will ensure the highest level of safety and provide law enforcement order the information they need to be sure of the technical control of the autonomous trucks circulating on our roads.

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