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Azuga looks into road use charge potential for automated vehicles

Dec. 10, 2020
The fleet tracking company is teaming up with some Western state DOTs and private collaborators to determine the feasibility of applying road-user fees to driverless vehicles.

Fleet tracking GPS provider Azuga was selected by RUC West to help determine the feasibility of applying road usage charges (RUC) to automated vehicles as part of RUC West’s push to compile information and develop regional policies on RUCs.

Milestone Solutions, the project’s consulting firm, selected Azuga as a collaborator and expert on RUC systems. In partnership with private autonomous vehicle (AV) vendors and product design specialists, the research demonstration aims to analyze and validate data-sharing methods between AV telemetry and RUC systems and to address technological and administrative considerations. 

The one-year project includes a six-month pilot program that already includes AV vendors in Arizona, California and Texas. It could expand to other states, according to Azuga.

As vehicles get more fuel-efficient, fuel tax revenues decline in many states, spurring governments to consider alternative taxes such as per-mile charges to use some roadways. RUC West is a group of 17 state departments of transportation interested in RUC viability. 

“Our contribution to this project will lay the groundwork for AV businesses to intersect with RUC programs on a statewide and multi-state level,” Nate Bryer, Azuga executive VP of RUC. “It is estimated that over 1,400 driverless vehicles are on the road—with more on the way—and it’s probable that a mandatory RUC is necessary for these vehicles. Many states will need this research to move forward.”

The collaboration of Azuga, RUC West and other AV stakeholders look to establish a smoother transition to advanced forms of revenue collection that leverage the types of account management services and mileage reporting automation that Azuga is already developing and testing in places like Oregon, Hawaii, and the Eastern seaboard.

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