While the industry is ready with advanced driver assistance system technologies (like active braking, steering and warning systems), and Class 8 trucks are generally capable of accepting them, adoption of ADAS is lacking today, according to data presented during a virtual session at the ATA Technology & Maintenance Council’s spring meeting.
So what’s stopping motor carriers from adopting ADAS systems that are meant to increase safety and assist drivers?
According to data from the American Transportation Research Institute, the most influential factor for motor carries that have decided not to purchase and use ADAS systems was their belief that a driver’s control could be compromised. This concern came from both drivers and motor carriers alike.
“What you see here is a misunderstanding [in how the systems operate],” said Dan Murray, senior vice president of ATRI, during the session. “We have a lot of work cut out for us … educating, increasing awareness, and most importantly, conveying accurate, real world information to offset a lot of these misunderstandings and concerns.”
The second and third factors, respectively, were the cost of the technology and issues maintaining the technology.
“[Motor carriers] generally look at very forward-looking issues, how am I going to maintain and repair these systems — there’s almost no one out there today in the technician world that knows how to quickly fix at least video optics and radar, and in some instances, even laser lidar,” Murray explained.
Other factors that made the list were reliability concerns, the inability to deactivate the technology, lack of acceptance from drivers, and the possibility of having no return on the investment.
With the driver shortage topping ATRI’s list of industry concerns for four years in a row, Murray said any technology implementation that has the potential to drive away more drivers is going to be last thing that carriers invest in.
“We have to educate carriers on driver acceptance, and to do that we’ve got to educate drivers on the benefits. Motor carriers are astutely aware that driver acceptance is going to make or break this adoption program very quickly,” he said.
A Move to Educate
In order to promote adoption of ADAS systems in Class 8 vehicles, and educate the industry on the technology’s benefits, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released four videos and guides. The guides provide information on the safety benefits of ADAS, as well as the return on investment expectations.
The program was released through FMCSA’s Tech-Celerate Now initiative, which was developed to increase voluntary adoption of ADAS among fleets and owner-operators in order to reduce fatalities, injures and crashes.
ATRI, the American Trucking Associations, TMC and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation are leading the program.