The Ontario Trucking Association has submitted comments to Ontario’s proposed amendments to Reg 306/15 pilot project for automated vehicles. The 10-year pilot allows the ministry to establish rules, monitor industry and technology developments, and evaluate the safety of AVs, including platooning, prior to them becoming widely available to the public.
In its comments, OTA said the plan laid out by MTO is measured and responsible, but recommended the government consider several factors, including the role professional drivers will continue to play as this technology evolves.
On the specifics of permitting public registration, sale and use of SAE Level 3 (Conditional Automation) autonomous vehicles, OTA suggested the government consider parameters around educational requirements for resellers of level 3 vehicles to explain technology to purchasers. Due to potential for inactivity of operators when the technology is operational from typical driving tasks, OTA also suggested MTO consider examining the potential impacts on operator fatigue as this effort rolls out.
MTO also proposes to allow testing of cooperative truck platooning in Ontario. Emphasized in this proposal is that a driver will be present in each vehicle. Additional specific conditions and considerations for drivers and equipment are also spelled out. With the platooning proposal following closely to the structure of the LCV program, the existing LCV carrier pool and their experience under with a strict operating regime could offer a host of trucking applications that could test the benefits of platooning with single trailer configurations. OTA also recommended drivers engaged in the pilot be sufficiently trained on the specific platooning technology that will be used.
The last aspect of MTOs proposal looks to permit ‘driverless’ testing under strict conditions. OTA suggested that municipal road signage and vehicle labeling be included to notify local road users of the presence of AVs in the AV test bed, as well as begin public awareness and education.