Kodiak Robotics, Inc. today announced that it is the first company to pilot a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) program that allows autonomous trucks to pre-clear roadside inspections. Elements of the new Enhanced Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspection Program standard, which is designed to streamline interactions between autonomous trucks and law enforcement at fixed inspection sites, were approved by CVSA at its September 2022 board meeting.
To launch enhanced inspections on public roadways, Kodiak, Drivewyze, and the Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) launched the initiative on Texas interstates. As part of the pilot program, Kodiak inputs the results of each enhanced inspection into the Drivewyze connected truck services system, which then communicates a sample safety data message set to roadside enforcement officials in Texas at participating inspection sites. The enhanced inspection pilot program demonstrates a solution to a critical hurdle in the commercial deployment of autonomous trucks. Crucially, it can be implemented using existing frameworks and infrastructure.
“Traditional roadside inspections rely on assistance from the driver, and a common question we get is how autonomous trucks will handle highway weigh station inspections,” said Don Burnette, Founder and CEO, of Kodiak. “This program shows how law enforcement and autonomous vehicle developers can partner to ensure extremely high safety and maintenance standards for self-driving trucks.”
The enhanced inspections require that a CVSA-certified inspector, who has completed a 40-h CVSA training course and passed a corresponding exam, conduct a thorough inspection of an autonomous truck combination, which is valid for a 24-h period. Autonomous trucks then communicate the outcome of that inspection, as well as other relevant safety information, to roadside enforcement officers. Since law enforcement will have a high level of certainty about the roadworthiness of vehicles participating in the enhanced inspection program, autonomous trucks that follow the approved process will not be subject to routine inspections at weigh stations and other inspection sites.
Kodiak played a leading role in working with CVSA, Texas DPS, other inspectors and enforcement experts, and Drivewyze to develop this process, which CVSA announced last September. This work includes chairing the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council Autonomous Truck Inspections and Enforcement Task Force, which continues to work closely with CVSA to develop the final elements of the CMV enhanced inspections program.
“Kodiak has always had an eye on the future, and we congratulate them on this major step forward as the first autonomous truck company to pilot the enhanced inspections concept in Texas,” said Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze. “Autonomous vehicles represent a significant change to roadside enforcement. To maximize future adoption, it is important that state agencies continue to leverage their existing roadside systems to meet the needs of the emerging AV market.”
The Texas-based pilot program is expected to serve as a model as autonomous trucks become commercially available nationwide. Kodiak is working with regulators and Drivewyze to expand the pilot program to other states.