What will you do with the data from ADAS?

Advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, in heavy trucks employ active braking and other technologies to avoid or reduce the severity of crashes like rear-end or loss-of-control accidents. Now common in some form in the latest passenger cars, ADAS are also expected to be the building blocks of self-driving vehicles in the future. (Photo: Aaron Marsh/ Fleet Owner)

During a broadly represented roundtable discussion this week on advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, in heavy trucks, a question came up that's likely to need answering: What can you do — or will you permit being done — with the data from those systems?

ADAS technologies such as autonomous/ automatic emergency braking are expected to be the groundwork components of the much-trumpeted self-driving vehicles of the future. ADAS data, industry stakeholders said, could help inform policymakers' decisions on regulation, incentives or other actions going forward.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and National Safety Council (NSC) hosted this segment and a wider discussion on increasing ADAS adoption.

Weighing in, among others, were representatives from a carrier fleet, a truck maker, an automotive safety advocacy group, university researchers, and rounding it out, an ADAS technology company as well.

"We are very interested in how these systems work, what are the most effective ways of introducing the systems, etc. Who owns the data now? How does it get shared? Is is possible to share that?" said Alex Epstein, senior director of digital strategy and content at NSC, setting up the segment. "Is it possible to find out in an anonymous way what is happening inside an individual truck, or inside an individual safety feature, if a crash occurs?"

Fleet take

Representatives from truckload carrier Schneider National, Inc. and crude oil hauler Sentinel Transportation were strongly supportive of ADAS technologies and their potential to cut down on heavy truck accidents and earn fleets a return on investment, often by avoiding collision-related legal fees and payouts.

But the larger theme of the discussion was these systems' ability to save lives and increase safety for everyone on the road. Thomas DiSalvi, vice president of safety and loss prevention at Schneider, said the company has installed a number of driver assistive technologies in its trucks, including automatic emergency braking about five years ago.

DeSalvi added that Schneider has shared other data such as from electronic logging devices and sleep apnea testing to help inform regulatory and other government officials, and said the company would be willing to do the same in this case with ADAS. "It is possible to get that [data], and we're talking both in an aggregate and a truck-specific application," he said.

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