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February 24, 2020 1:15 PM, EST

FMCSA Unveils 'Tech-Celerate Now' to Promote Adoption of Safety Technology

FMCSA Ross Froat, ATA director of engineering and information technology, via Joe Antoshak/Transport Topics

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ATLANTA — Tech-Celerate Now, FMCSA’s first-of-its-kind program to bring together government agencies and private sector industry leaders to promote advanced driver assistance systems, got a boost at American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.

TMC held its first organizational session of its ADAS Adoption Committee Feb. 24 and heard more about the effort to accelerate the early adoption of technology, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and various stakeholders believe will improve truck safety.

“TMC will support the [U.S. Department of Transportation] Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Tech-Celerate Now program by developing recommended practices, videos and other technical materials that support the implementation of ADAS technologies in commercial fleet vehicles,” TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell said.

As part of the announcement, FMCSA said it is forming a partnership with ATA, TMC, the American Transportation Research Institute and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to promote the advancement of the technology.

“We have a plan, that for two years, FMCSA will be funding this project, and what they’re funding is for these four memberships, these associations, to work together to create solutions and outcomes and results for research and surveys and so many things we are going to be doing to educate,” said Ross Froat, ATA director of engineering and information technology.

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According to FMCSA, Tech-Celerate Now is focusing on several ADAS technology performance categories including steering and braking systems, vehicle monitoring systems, and camera-based mirror systems.

At the first meeting, which took place during TMC, stakeholders began working on plans to develop technical materials, outreach programs and other items to educate the trucking industry about the benefits of early adoption of ADAS technologies.

Froat referenced a AAA Foundation study from 2017 that assessed the benefits of implementing advanced safety technology in trucking. Since that time, FMCSA has been looking at innovative ways to promote many of these systems.

“We are creating tools, products and videos all on advanced driving assistance systems,” Froat said. “We’re doing a lot of industry outreach — fleets, OEMs, suppliers, you name it. We are going to educate fleets toward these technologies, as much as possible.”

A website, tech-celeratenow.org, has been created to promote the program.

“All this information that we gather, that we research, that we develop, will be on that website,” Froat said. “The website will be used as a resource, as a single, commercial-neutral zone for fleets to go and learn more about these technologies.”

While many of the largest fleets have put some or all of these technologies on their trucks, he said the goal is to spread the word to smaller companies and encourage them because the benefits of a safer operation could mean fewer accidents and lower insurance rates.

“We are working with fleets that do not have these technologies or never heard of them, and we are working to understand them better,” Froat added. “That’s one big thing from this.”

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