Josh Fisher/Fleet Owner
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao speaks at CES 2020.

AV 4.0: DOT looks to ‘ensure’ U.S. leadership in an autonomous vehicle future

Jan. 13, 2020
Transportation Secretary outlines the federal government’s plan to unify automated vehicle efforts across various departments, agencies, commissions and the White House to provide high-level guidance to local governments and innovators.

LAS VEGAS — The federal government is “all in for safer, better and more inclusive transportation aided by automated driving systems,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said during her CES 2020 keynote address here, in which she announced the latest national initiative on automated vehicle technology.

Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0 (AV 4.0), a joint report by the DOT and National Science & Technology Council, was released by the White House during CES 2020. AV 4.0 aims to unify automated vehicle efforts across 38 federal departments, independent agencies, commissions, and executive offices of the President, providing high-level guidance to state and local governments, innovators, and all stakeholders on the U.S. government’s approach towards AVs.

AV 4.0 aims to create a collaborative effort to position the U.S. as a leader in autonomous driving and artificial intelligence. “This kind of innovation requires appropriate government oversight to ensure safety, open market, strategic allocation of public resources and, of course, protection of the public interest,” Chao said on Jan. 8.

This is the first time the federal government is offering unified guidance across all federal agencies for innovators and advanced technology stakeholders, Chao noted.

AV 4.0 establishes federal principles for the development and integration of automated vehicles, consisting of three core focus areas: prioritize safety and security, promote innovation, and ensure a consistent regulatory approach. It also outlines ongoing Trump Administration efforts supporting AV technology growth and leadership, as well as opportunities for collaboration including federal investments in the AV sector and resources for innovators, researchers, and the public.

“The landscape for AV innovation is complex and evolving,” Chao noted. “But the goals are pretty simple… They need to improve safety, security and the quality of life for all Americans — that's the barometer for success.”

In the new report, the government highlights the potential benefits of autonomous vehicles on U.S. roadways, noting that today’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are the building blocks of tomorrow’s automated driving systems (ADS). And with more automation could come improved safety and fewer roadway fatalities; better quality of life, access and mobility for all Americans; lower energy use; and improved supply chain management. 

The U.S. is ripe for autonomous driving testing, particularly in trucking, ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider said earlier in the week at CES, pointing to the wide-open spaces and less crowded highways of America as more advantageous than crowded European roads. He said China has similar advantages and said the two rival countries offer “favorable conditions” for future AV.

“AV 4.0 brings all of the important work happening on automated vehicle technologies across the federal government under one unified approach. The federal principles released on Wednesday help foster an environment for innovators to advance safe AV technologies, and put the U.S. in a position of continued leadership in the future of transportation,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, who followed Chao on stage at CES.

The DOT is actively preparing for emerging technologies by engaging with new technologies to address legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy without hampering innovation. With the release of Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety (ADS 2.0) in 2017, the DOT provided voluntary guidance to industry, as well as technical assistance and best practices to states, offering a path forward for the safe testing and integration of ADS. In 2018, Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0) introduced guiding principles for AV innovation for all surface transportation modes, and described the DOT’s strategy to address existing barriers to potential safety benefits and progress.

AV 4.0 builds on these efforts by presenting a unified position on collaborative efforts in automated vehicles, Chao said, noting that the goal is for the U.S. to lead the world in AV technology while also prioritizing safety, security, and privacy.

AV 4.0 will soon be published in the Federal Register for public review and comment.

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!