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ATA Issues Autonomous Truck Guidelines, an Industry First

ATA Issues Autonomous Truck Guidelines, an Industry First

The emergence of driverless vehicles has been all but a certainty for years now. Several signs have signaled the growing popularity of autonomy, and the trucking industry has seen many of these signs first-hand.

From company mergers that involve self-driving startups to test runs and actual deliveries via driverless vehicles, there are plenty of indicators of autonomy’s prominence. Now the American Trucking Associations is taking another huge step in ushering this technology into the truck driving industry.

ATA recently released the first-ever autonomous trucking policy guidelines. This policy covers various aspects of driverless vehicles, including how to keep them safe, the role of state and federal governments in autonomous legislation, uniformity throughout the country, applicable infrastructure, and industry education.

The comprehensive and holistic policy has eight key points, each identified by ATA as crucial to the successful and safe deployment of driverless trucks as a regular sight on America’s roadways. Specific points include an investment in a coalition to help demonstrate improved safety and connectivity among driverless trucks, as well as demonstrations to establish valuable information.

Outdated safety laws should also be revised or removed, and the industry must be careful that lawmakers do not stifle the development of this technology through legislation. ATA officials are leaning more toward federal legislation than state, as doing so would create uniform rules for interstate travel – a necessity for smooth and seamless operations in the industry even today.

Laws should also refrain from requiring or limiting different levels of automation. The natural progression of the technology should be set in place by the industry and developers, rather than by lawmakers. Infrastructure investments should also be looked at as a plus for the autonomous vehicle market, as well as the conventional vehicle market.

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear spoke about the policy guidelines, saying: “Over the past year, ATA has been active in this debate, advocating for recognition of the importance of the trucking industry when it comes to the development of automated vehicles. The adoption of this policy gives a clear direction about what our industry will expect and require as policymakers establish a comprehensive framework for automated vehicles.”

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