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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TLT.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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Autonomous VehiclesNewsTrucking Regulation

Pronto AI seeks hours-of-service exemption for Copilot drivers

Pronto AI is asking that drivers in trucks using its driver-assist technology be exempt from federal work rules to help encourage investment in autonomous trucks and speed up adoption of new safety systems.

Specifically, the autonomous trucking startup is seeking a renewable five-year exemption that would allow drivers to drive up to 13 hours within a 15-consecutive hour driving window after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, according to a request sent earlier this month to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Current regulations allow a 14-consecutive hour driving window in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The exemption would apply to drivers operating trucks equipped with Pronto AI’s Copilot advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and its “SmartDrive” Video Safety Program.

Comments on Pronto AI’s request are due 30 days after FMCSA’s notice is published in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for April 20.

“A driver operating under the exemption would be ‘hands on’ and in complete control of the vehicle at all times,” the company stated in explaining its Level 2 automation technology. The added level of automation reduces physical and mental stress for the driver, “thereby allowing a modest increase in certain HOS parameters,” the company asserted.

“Plus, these same technologies would provide additional levels of safety by reducing the risk of the driver becoming drowsy or distracted and assist the driver in maintaining safe and proper control of the vehicle. In concert, these technologies provide a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than would result from operation without the requested exemption.”

Pronto AI, which was among FreightWaves’ 2020 FreightTech 100 winners, also noted that granting the HOS exemption would “provide a meaningful operational incentive for investment in these technologies, which will also help overcome some driver resistance to using ADAS and video-based onboard safety systems, especially driver-facing cameras.”

Opponents of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology have emphasized the potential for job loss resulting from the technology and decreased safety that will lead to more crashes. Responding to those assertions, Robbie Miller, Pronto AI’s CEO and Chief Safety Officer, recently told FreightWaves that the cost savings that come from carriers not having to hire drivers will ultimately increase the number of workers in trucking and other sectors of the economy.

Pronto AI’s Copilot technology, which FreightWaves test-drove last year, is part of a four-year study led by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to provide regulators with guidelines for integrating ADAS into current fleets. The research is funded by a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

3 Comments

  1. Current regulations allow a 14-consecutive hour driving window in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.

    The above quoted text is incorrect!

    It should read:
    Current regulations allow a 14-consecutive hour WORK window in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.

  2. Reckless nonsense

    My name is Michael DeKort
    Key Autonomous Vehicle Industry Participation
    – Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force
    – Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force
    – Stakeholder for UL4600 – Creating AV Safety Guidelines
    – Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee (AI&ASPC)
    – Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts

    It is a myth that public shadow and safety driving can create a legitimate autonomous vehicle and that the lives the process takes are necessary and for the greater good. It is impossible to drive the trillion miles or spend $300B to stumble and restumble on all the scenarios necessary to complete the effort. In addition, the process harms people for no reason. The first issue is handover. The process cannot be made safe for most complex scenarios because the time to regain proper situational awareness and do the right thing, especially in time critical scenarios. cannot be provided. Another dangerous area is learning accident scenarios. AV makers will have to run thousands of accident scenarios thousands of times to accomplish this. That will cause thousands of injuries and deaths.

    More in my articles here

    The Deadly and Avoidable Catch-22 of Autonomous Vehicle Development in the Public Domain
    https://medium.com/@imispgh/catch-22-is-a-paradox-84bb2548fd5e

    Proposal for Successfully Creating an Autonomous Ground or Air Vehicle
    https://medium.com/@imispgh/proposal-for-successfully-creating-an-autonomous-ground-or-air-vehicle-539bb10967b1

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