On July 7, 2021, Ariel Wolf was quoted in FreightWaves on the Biden administration’s recent order mandating that manufacturers and operators of automated vehicles promptly report data involving certain crashes that occur while the automation technology is engaged.
According to the article, the Self-Driving Coalition, whose members include truck technology companies Embark, TuSimple, and Waymo—all of which are included in the order issued on June 29 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—contends that the order needs to distinguish between vehicles that operate advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and those that use automated driving systems (ADS).
The government considers ADAS to be a Level 1 or Level 2 technology in terms of driver engagement, whereas ADS is considered a Level 3, 4, or 5 technology, with a Level 5 system requiring zero driver engagement.
ADS and ADAS will be subject to crash data reporting requirements that are much tighter than the current standard quarterly reporting requirements for NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which also expects crash data involving trucks to be submitted by states on a quarterly basis.
Also of concern is keeping proprietary data confidential for companies looking to gain a foothold in the highly competitive self-driving vehicle sector.
“Autonomous vehicle companies want to do the right thing,” said Ariel Wolf, who leads the Autonomous and Connected Mobility Group at the law firm Venable.
“Clients of ours in this space—passenger and trucking companies alike—are comfortable having a dialogue with NHTSA and they understand that data sharing with regulators is important. But suddenly there is this huge new demand for data that’s being sought out by the government that will be treated as publicly disclosable, but there was no industry input on the process or substance of what will be required. That’s a concern for an industry that wants to do the right thing and wants to ensure that important crash data be put in the hands of the right people.”
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