Yesterday at the Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao announced three proposals aimed at improving safety on our roadways. Chao announced the next phase of the “Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety (PARTS) program.” The program will “expand participation in the PARTS program to include almost 70% of the U.S. automobile market and will collect data on additional advanced driver-assisted systems (ADAS).” Secretary Chao also announced an initiative to standardize ADAS terminology amongst manufacturers.
To view the DOT press release, click here.
The U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy advanced H.R. 5545, the New Opportunities to Expand Healthy Air Using Sustainable Transportation (NO EXHAUST) Act of 2020. The legislation was introduced by Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) two days ago. The bill would authorize:
This was one of the nine bills that advanced through the subcommittee relating to energy efficiency.
To view the bill, click here.
To view Congressman Rush’s press release, click here.
The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled ‘Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0’. The guidelines were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV this week.
AV 4.0 is the third set of autonomous vehicle guidance the DOT has released. AV 4.0 has three core areas of focus: prioritizing safety and security, promote innovation, and ensure a consistent regulatory approach. The guidelines build upon the previously released ‘Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0’ and ‘Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety 2.0’.
To view the U.S. DOT’s press release, click here.
The Automotive Service Association signed on to the U.S. Vehicle Data Coalition’s Letter that was submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with respect to a hearing convened last week entitled, “Examining Legislative Proposals to Protect Consumer Data Privacy.”
Click here to read the US Vehicle Data Coalition Letter.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Highly Automated Vehicles: Federal Perspectives on the Deployment of Safety Technology.” The hearing will have witnesses from the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Witnesses will discuss perspectives on the safe testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles, efficiency benefits, and mobility.
To view the hearing, click here.
The Congressional 5G Caucus, co-chaired by Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN), Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), held a briefing on “Cellular Vehicle to Everything: Leveraging 5G to Make Americas Roads Safer, Smarter, and More Efficient.” The panel discussed the importance of utilizing the 5.9 gigahertz bandwidth within 5G in order to have fully operational cellular vehicle to everything (CV2X) connectivity for the future. According to participants, CV2X capability will allow vehicles not only to connect and communicate with each other, but also with infrastructure, and mobile devices to increase safety on roadways, provide further visibility and the pathway to the future. Panelists echoed similar sentiments acknowledging that 5G is needed in order to transfer the amount of data that will be produced from the cutting-edge technology.
Dean Brenner, Senior Vice President at Spectrum Strategy and Tech Policy at Qualcomm, stated that most vehicles today have 4G enabling them to be able to connect with other vehicles. Walt Townsend, Vice President of Applications Engineering at Applied Information, highlighted that part of the testing they have been doing with emergency vehicles is in order to assure these vehicles get through traffic efficiently. John Kwant, Global Director of Government Affairs at Ford, and Brenner both expressed the need for preserving the 5.9 band for CV2X technology. In 1999 the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) reserved this part of the spectrum for direct short-range communications (DSRC). Under FCC rules, the 5.9 band space needs to be used for DSRC. Their rules also state an obligation to keep the rules updated. In May 2019, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai considered starting a rulemaking to reconsider usage of the 5.9 band for Wi-Fi, however, Brenner noted in the panel discussion there is 1200 megahertz above the 5.9 band that the FCC is giving for unlicensed use.
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing entitled, “The Future of Transportation Network Companies: Challenges and Opportunities.” Prior to hearing, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) stated in a press release, “as state and local governments struggle to integrate new modes of transportation into their networks, Congress must take an active role ensuring safety and accountability for the needs of the traveling public.” In his opening statement, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, noted the importance of how transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are impacting America’s roadways and “what this new business model means for public safety, jobs, emissions, transit services, and other factors, must be at the center of any policy decision to allow these companies to access our infrastructure.”
During the Member Panel, Representative Smith (R-NJ) and Representative Suozzi (D-NY) both detailed in their opening statements the importance of ensuring that passengers utilizing ride hailing companies are getting into the right vehicle to avoid circumstances of those such as Samantha “Sami” Josephson, who was kidnapped and murdered by a man pretending to be an uber driver. The bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3262, in honor of Samantha was introduced this past June by Representative Smith and cosponsored by Representative Suozzi, was taken up in the subcommittee hearing. The legislation would require enhanced vehicle identification procedures to improve the safety of ride hailing passengers.
Witnesses during Panel 1 all echoed similar sentiments during their opening statements expressing the need for ensuring the safety of passengers using transportation network companies (TNCs) and the need for increased investment in pilot programs, research, and federal grants. Paul Miller, Legislative Counsel to The Transportation Alliance, emphasized that Congress should be deliberate in policy decisions, but “where we do see Congress having an immediate role is with the federal contracts awarded to for-hire transportation companies. The General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of putting together a Request for Proposal (RFP), which is looking to outsource some of the Federal governments transportation needs to TNCs.” Miller, along with Chairman DeFazio, expressed concerns regarding the currently lax background check process at Uber and Lyft, and that fingerprint-based background checks should be implemented, especially if they were to be receiving a federal transportation contract.
To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking public comment on amending Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) No. 111, “Rear Visibility”. Currently, FMVSS No. 111, requires that vehicles have rearview mirrors. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NRPM) comes after requests from manufacturers to install “camera monitor system” (CMS) as an alternative to inside and outside rearview mirrors.
To read the NRPM and submit a comment, click here.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a Notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) asking the public for comments on amending the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, to allow manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs) to install a number of driver-selectable pedestrian alert sounds in each HEV they manufacture.
To view and submit comments on the NPRM, click here.