NHTSA Launches AV Test Tracking Tool
Earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its Automated Vehicle Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing Initiative tracking tool (AV TEST), an interface that provides users with the ability to find information about on-road testing of self-driving vehicles in 17 cities throughout the United States. Although not yet fully comprehensive, AV TEST covers the progress of automated vehicle trials in cities such as Austin, Columbus (OH), Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The data might include testing activity as well as dates, frequency, vehicle counts and routes, NHTSA said.
A number of AV developers have signed up to participate, including Beep, Cruise, EasyMile, FCA, LM Industries, Navya, Nuro, Toyota, Waymo and Uber—and it also contains voluntarily submitted safety reports from Aurora, Ike, Kodiak, Lyft, TuSimple and Zoox. However, concerns have been raised about the voluntary nature of the information submitted. Some industry watchers believe the tool will only give a more complete view of industry progress once more companies are required to submit better data.
Small AV Numbers Can Improve Overall Traffic Flow
A recently-released study from researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel concludes that with right regulations, AVs can cooperate and significantly enhance traffic flow even when fewer than 5 percent of the vehicles on the road are autonomous. In their paper, Prof. Ido Kanter and Dr. Amir Goldental estimate that AVs in “hybrid traffic” consisting of self-driving and conventional vehicles can create an increase of up to 40 percent in traffic flow and a decrease of 28 percent in fuel consumption. Additionally, the study found that by-products may be increased traffic safety and fewer lane transitions.
Ike Strikes Truck Deal With Logistics Companies
Automated trucking company Ike Robotics recently announced that it has reached agreements to put its self-driving technology into at least 1,000 trucks with third-party logistics companies (3PLs) including DHL, Ryder and NFI Industries. “What Ike is doing is putting our technology into the hands of existing fleets and making them more productive, safer, and create better jobs for their drivers,” Ike CEO Alden Woodrow told Transport Topics, adding that the company sought “forward-thinking companies to invest their time and effort for a technology that is still a few years away from being commercially available.”