This chapter is organized as follows:
- Background on the Commercial Vehicle Safety Technology Diagnostics and Performance Enhancement Program
- Rationale for the research study
- Overview of the process approach
The purpose of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Technology Diagnostics and Performance Enhancement Program (i.e., "CV Sensor Study") was to define performance requirements, assess benefits, and accelerate deployment of driver and vehicle assistance products and systems and, in particular, advanced sensor and signal processors in trucks and tractor trailers with an emphasis on onboard diagnostic and improved safety-related products.
The project solicited input from key industry stakeholders (e.g., fleet operators, manufacturers, and suppliers) regarding the selection of research areas, test and demonstration procedures, equipment specifications, and data collection and reporting methodologies. The project focused on conducting research that compliments (rather than duplicates) efforts by the private industry. Objectives of the research included evaluating the probable impact of selected vehicle technologies on improving overall commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety, and assessing the cost savings potential and operational benefits that help to create market demand and encourage commercialization.
The following tasks were completed to help identify possible research areas:
- Extensive literature search of relevant technical journals and databases
- Individual interviews and discussions with representatives from truck and trailer manufacturers, fleet operators, owner operators, and industry suppliers, as well as staff at NHTSA, FMCSA, and FHWA who are involved in commercial vehicle safety research
- Meeting of key industry stakeholders to review candidate research areas and make suggestions regarding future work under the CV Sensor Study
As a result of this background research and interview process, the following candidate areas of research were identified:
- Brakes and related controls
- Tire inflation and condition monitoring systems
- Truck and tractor alignment ("dynamic alignment")
- Testing and analysis of high-speed databus networks (J1939)
- Cost, benefits, and implementation issues associated with Vehicle Data Recorders (VDRs)
- "Active Suspensions" and related suspension research
- Advanced vehicle diagnostic and prognostic tools
- Issues related to implementation of "Smart Copilot" onboard systems
The information revolution (and the technologies it has spawned) has made possible a wide variety of innovative vehicle performance and safety enhancement systems. Technology applications (e.g., anti-lock braking systems, traction control, vehicle stability control, collision warning systems, and airbag systems) have brought about major improvements in vehicle and occupant safety. Computerized powertrain control systems-electronic fuel injection, variable valve timing, and electronic transmissions-have provided similar improvements in vehicle performance. The proliferation of these technologies, and other similar systems, offers vehicle manufacturers, aftermarket suppliers, and end users significant opportunities to leverage the information they provide.
The real-time monitoring of vehicle system performance holds significant potential. By observing and analyzing vehicle performance parameters, driver inputs, and vehicle responses, manufacturers and operators of CMVs can extract the maximum utility, achieve new levels of safety and security, and have at their disposal a wealth of new information to help them learn from vehicle events. Coupled with recent innovations in telematics that provide dramatic increases in bandwidth and data transmission rates, these technologies offer new opportunities for improving vehicle safety, reliability, and profitability. Such real-time monitoring and data logging opportunities include improved vehicle interaction, driver training and oversight, occupant protection systems, and collision avoidance systems.
These technologies also open opportunities for public safety agencies to better understand and measure the factors that contribute to commercial vehicle crashes. Systems that record specific vehicle inputs, component conditions, and dynamic responses from the period immediately preceding a crash through the actual event offer safety agencies and vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to gain knowledge that can be used to reduce the likelihood of future crashes. These functions can be viewed as traditional EDR types.
Many of the technologies currently in the marketplace or emerging in the industry can or will be able to perform both data logging to improve operational efficiency and traditional EDR functions-providing benefits in a wide array of applications. Early in this project, the aim was to explore both of these potential benefit scenarios. Through consultation with the FMCSA and NHTSA, the term "vehicle data recorder" was selected as a way to streamline the discussion of technologies that perform one or both of these functions.
The primary objective of this project was to explore the potential for the development of cost-effective VDR solutions tailored to varied applications or market segments. Through a combination of technical research and analysis, including business-related cost-benefit assessment, potential VDR configurations ranging from fundamental to comprehensive were explored.
The specific activities completed are described in the following section.
The project team's approach was centered on four tasks:
Task 1: Coordinate Efforts with Other USDOT and Industry Initiatives
Task 2: Profile Capabilities and Cost of VDR Product Offerings
Task 3: Develop Alternative VDR Concepts
Task 4: Identify and Estimate Benefits of VDR Concepts
Vehicle OEMs and component suppliers (as well as a few fleet operators) have been engaged in VDR research and testing for many years. Additionally, there has been and continues to be considerable private and government-funded research focused on identifying the capabilities and limitations of VDR-related components and systems, including:
- NHTSA Event Data Recorder Working Group (EDR Working Group)
- NHTSA Truck and Bus Event Data Recorder Working Group (T&B EDR Working Group)
- FHWA-sponsored development of functional requirements for event data recorders
- The American Trucking Associations Technology and Maintenance Council's development of recommended practices
This research has yielded valuable insights. Task 1 focused on capturing the available results of the research and synthesizing information from the commercial vehicle user, OEM, equipment supplier, and recorder manufacturer communities. The results of this task formed the foundation for the development of VDR alternative concepts and the evaluation of potential benefits and costs. The focus was not to be a liaison for sharing of information among third parties, but rather to gather information necessary to perform the assessments required for this project.
The contractor team performed a comprehensive literature search and review of documents published by the public, quasi-public (e.g., associations, committees, coalitions, institutes, etc.), and private companies that have conducted VDR-related research and development. These institutions and companies include the various public-private partnerships. Exhibit 1.1 outlines the various agencies whose VDR research and activities were reviewed.
Exhibit 1.1 - Organizations Supporting/Conducting VDR Research/Development
Transportation Research Board (TRB)
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association
Individual vehicle manufacturers (OEMs)
Vehicle Original Equipment
ATA Technology and Maintenance Council
Truck Manufacturers Association
Alliance of American Insurers
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
American Automobile Association
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety
Highway Loss Data Institute
Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association
Society of Automotive Analysts
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE)
Intermodal Freight Technology Working Group (IFTWG)
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
Several initiatives in VDR- and EDR-related research currently underway were reviewed and the results used, where appropriate, to develop the VDR concepts in Task 3 (see Chapter 2.2), including the following (source document references are in Appendix A):
NHTSA Light-Duty and Heavy-Duty Vehicle EDR Working Groups
In 1998, NHTSA's Office of Research and Development formed a working group (i.e., the EDR Working Group) comprised of industry, academia, and other government organizations to study the state-of-the-art of EDRs. The group concentrated on the following areas:
- Status of EDR technology
- Data elements
- Data retrieval
- Data collection and storage
- Permanent records
- Privacy and legal issues
- Consumers and users of EDR data
- EDR technology demonstrations
The working group's results and findings were published in August 2001.
In 2000, NHTSA sponsored a second working group (i.e., the T&B EDR Working Group) to research EDRs specifically associated with trucks, school buses, and motorcoaches. The objectives of this working group focused on the data elements, survivability, and event definitions related to trucks, school buses, and motorcoaches. The group's results and findings were published in May 2002.
SAE J1698 Standards Committee
The scope of the SAE J1698 standards development effort is to develop common data output formats and definitions for a variety of data elements that may be used for analyzing vehicle "events," most notably crashes. The standards are intended to govern data element definitions and data extraction methodology as applicable for light-duty (less than 8,500 lbs GVW) original equipment applications. Further, the standard will specify common connectors and network communications protocols to facilitate the extraction of such data.
The first standard developed by this committee, J1698-1, establishes a common format for displaying and presenting crash-related data recorded and stored within certain electronic components currently installed in many light-duty vehicles. This recommended practice pertains only to the post-download format of such data and is not intended to standardize the format of the data stored within any onboard storage unit, or to standardize the method of data recording, storing, or extraction. J1698-1 does not standardize or mandate the recording of any specific data element, or specify a minimum data set. It is intended to be a compilation of data elements and parameters that various manufacturers are currently recording, as well as those elements reasonably predicted to be recorded in the foreseeable future, and to establish a common format for display and presentation of that recorded data. This version of the recommended practice is limited in application to vehicular data recorded in single frontal impact events. Provisions for multiple-impact or side-impact events may be included in the next version of this standard or in later standards efforts. The SAE J1698-1 standard "Vehicle Event Data Interface - Vehicular Output Data Definition" was published in December 2003.
SAE J2728 Commercial Vehicle Event Data Recorder (CVEDR) Standards Committee
A second SAE committee (in addition to the J1698 committee), SAE J2728, was recently formed to develop a standard for EDRs for commercial vehicles. The CVEDR subcommittee's stated purpose is to "Establish common data elements and data element definitions for heavy commercial vehicle event data recording." The subcommittee is focusing on medium-duty (Class 3-7) and heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks, and will deal specifically with crash event data recording-as opposed to including vehicle data logging/recording. The subcommittee will develop a standard specifying event triggers, threshold levels, and survivability aspects, and will recommend data extraction methods. It is anticipated that the standard will closely resemble that of SAE J1698.
IEEE P1616 Standards Committee
The IEEE P1616 standards development effort is aimed at defining a protocol for motor vehicle event data recorder (MVEDR) output data compatibility and export protocols for MVEDR data elements. The standard does not prescribe the specific data elements to be recorded, or the collection, recording, and storage of data. It is applicable to EDRs for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles, whether offered as original or aftermarket equipment. The IEEE P1616 standard "Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders" was published in February 2005.
FHWA IVI Program 134 - Development of Requirements and Functional Specifications for Event Data Recorders
The purpose of this project was to use the work products of the NHTSA EDR Working Group and additional EDR reference materials to define specific EDR requirements and functional specifications for the reconstruction of crashes involving large trucks (>10,000 lbs gross vehicle weight). The project's goal was to provide accident analysis data-driven rationale for inclusion of new sensors and measurements into commercial vehicles. The project involved developing EDR requirements for thorough accident analysis of data from the FMCSA's Large Truck Crash Causation Study, and then developing EDR functional specifications for both complete crash reconstruction and less detailed analyses of crashes. Requirements were developed for the EDR components, hardware, software, sensors, and databases. A cost-effectiveness analysis was also completed for this project.
The analysis of crash data from the Large Truck Crash Causation Study involved an extensive review of 133 crash cases to identify the EDR data elements that will likely be required to reconstruct a variety of large truck crash configurations. A taxonomy, or categorization, of crash configurations that will be helpful in identifying data elements was completed as well. The following three tiers of data elements were developed:
- Tier 1 - The minimum required data elements for a crash EDR on CMVs
- Tier 2 - Additional data elements to the data elements in tier 1 that would permit further analysis of crashes involving CMVs
- Tier 3 - A complete set of data crash elements to thoroughly analyze crashes involving CMVs, including the data elements listed in tiers 1 and 2.
After the tiers of data elements were established, a cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted to estimate the costs of the data elements in each of the three tiers and to determine whether one or more data elements would significantly increase the cost of an EDR.
The Final Report for FHWA IVI Program 134, Development of Requirements and Functional Specifications for Event Data Recorders, has been published and is available at http://www.itsdocs.fhwa.dot.gov/JPODOCS/REPTS_TE/14146.htm.
American Trucking Associations' Technology and Maintenance Council Recommended Practice 1214 - Guidelines for Event Data Collection, Storage, and Retrieval
The Technology and Maintenance Council published a recommended practice (RP) to define the collection of event-related data onboard commercial vehicles. The RP outlines the data elements, storage methodology, and the retrieval approach for event data recording on commercial vehicles. The RP lists several data parameters based upon message ID and parameter ID specifications in the SAE J1587 recommended practice. It also defines the recording interval as a period 30 seconds before and 15 seconds after an event trigger (defined by an unspecified deceleration rate between 0 and 10 mph/sec).
National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 17-24 - Use of Event Data Recorder Technology for Roadside Crash Data Analysis
The TRB is administering an NCHRP project under Area 17, Safety. The objectives of this project are to recommend a minimum set of EDR data elements for roadside safety analysis and to recommend procedures for the retrieval, storage, and use of EDR data from vehicle crashes. This project, conducted by Rowan University, includes the following tasks:
- Synthesizing the current U.S. and international literature on collection, storage, and use of EDR data for roadside and vehicle safety, and meeting with a data collection agency to assess current EDR data collection techniques.
- Identifying existing and potential EDR data elements that could be used to improve vehicle and roadside safety. The EDR data elements will be prioritized based on roadside safety analysis needs.
- Reviewing the data elements that are currently recommended for collection in "Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria" (MMUCC) and identifying those that can be more accurately and effectively collected using EDRs, and identifying and prioritizing, based on roadside safety needs, data elements not included in MMUCC that could be provided accurately and effectively using EDRs.
- Investigating current methods for initial retrieval and storage of, as well as subsequent use of, EDR crash data for roadside safety analysis, and identifying key issues, problems, and costs associated with these methods.
- Preparing an interim report documenting the findings of Tasks 2 through 4 and meeting in Washington, DC, with the project panel approximately one month after submittal of the interim report.
- Recommending procedures for improved retrieval, storage, and use of EDR crash data, and identifying possible obstacles to implementation of the recommended procedures. The recommendations will consider, at a minimum, resource requirements, cost effectiveness, legal acceptability, and public acceptance.
- Submitting a final report that documents the entire research effort.
The report for NCHRP Project 17-24 was published as Web Document 75 in June 2005.
NHTSA Notice of Proposed Rule Making - Event Data Recorders
On June 14, 2004, NHTSA published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making with requirements for voluntarily installed EDRs in light-duty vehicles. This proposal would not require the installation of EDRs in any motor vehicles, but would:
- Require that the EDRs voluntarily installed in light vehicles record a minimum set of specified data elements useful for crash investigations and analysis of the performance of safety equipment (e.g., advanced restraint systems and automatic collision notification systems).
- Specify requirements for data format.
- Increase the survivability of the EDRs and their data by requiring that the EDRs function during and after the front, side, and rear vehicle crash tests specified in several Federal motor vehicle safety standards.
- Require vehicle manufacturers to make publicly available information that would enable crash investigators to retrieve data from the EDR.
- Require vehicle manufacturers to include a brief standardized statement in the owner's manual indicating that the vehicle is equipped with an EDR and describing the purposes of EDRs.
The proposed regulations require 18 basic event data elements with specific attributes to be recorded for up to 3 crash events if the manufacturers choose to install an EDR in their vehicles. In addition to the basic elements, the proposal requires 24 additional data elements to be recorded if the EDR-equipped vehicles already have onboard technologies to acquire these data elements.
As a basic survivability requirement, the proposed regulations require that an EDR must function after the full-scale front, side, and rear vehicle crash tests specified in FMVSS 208, 214, and 301.
According to the May 16, 2006 Regulatory Agenda (70 FR 27218, at 27295) the NHTSA EDR Final Rule is projected to be published in 2006.
This task focused on the identification of specific features and capabilities available and incorporated in commercially available VDRs, and the estimation of the costs associated with those features. The objective was to develop an understanding of the cost drivers for VDR design. A review of the existing literature suggested that there was a considerable amount of information available regarding recommended data elements, sampling rates, and measurement accuracy needed to support various levels of crash causation and safety analyses (e.g., NHTSA's Summary of Findings of the EDR Working Group, Volume 2, Supplemental Findings for Trucks, Motorcoaches, and Buses). However, there was virtually no information available related to the costs associated with incorporating various data gathering capabilities into a particular VDR design. As importantly, there is little available research or quantitative analysis related to the benefits of VDRs. The results of this task are shown in Appendix B.
In order to understand the costs and benefits associated with different implementations of a VDR, the team developed several concepts with different levels of functional sophistication. As a first step, the contractor team identified the high-level functional requirements, capabilities, and performance expectations for VDRs as articulated by different end-user groups (or stakeholders). Such stakeholder groups included government researchers, vehicle manufacturers, fleet operators, and the law enforcement/litigation communities. Each alternative (or concept) could then be examined to evaluate VDRs relative to their ability to meet the goals of the various stakeholder groups.
To profile VDR concept requirements, the contractor team extracted, from industry and government findings (i.e., from NHTSA, FHWA, TRB, ATA/TMC) along with surveys and interviews with key industry stakeholders, the end-user needs and expectations regarding VDR capabilities and required data parameters. VDR concepts were formulated and targeted in the following end-use applications:
- Accident reconstruction and crash causation
- Operational efficiency
- Driver monitoring
This task focused on understanding the benefits of VDRs based on the hypothetical product profiles (operational concepts) developed in Task 3. In addition, estimated costs (e.g., for engineering development, application programming, and hardware) were developed for these same product concepts.
In an effort to better understand likely development and production costs for the concepts outlined in Chapter 2, technical and performance descriptions of each concept from Task 3 were shared with a leading suppler of high-volume custom vehicle electronics for commercial heavy-duty vehicles. The supplier went through the standard development and estimation process, working with both its engineering and sales/pricing team to gain a detailed understanding of the concepts. The supplier then developed an estimated cost analysis for each concept. The team felt that this approach provided a more accurate estimate of the costs broken down into three parts-engineering development costs, application programming costs, and hardware piece costs.
Finally, while return-on-investment calculations are very fleet-specific, and are made difficult due to the "soft" nature of both the benefits and costs, the final part of this task involved developing an overview of the business-case justification that typical fleets use in purchasing VDRs and related products.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Event Data Recorders - Summary of Findings, NHTSA EDR Working Group. NHTSA-99-5218-9, Washington, DC, 2001.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Event Data Recorders - Summary of Findings: Volume II Supplemental Findings for Trucks, Motorcoaches, and School Buses, NHTSA EDR Working Group. DOT HS 809 432, Washington, DC, 2002.
Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE J1698-1 "Vehicular Event Data Interface - Vehicular Output Data Definition" Detroit, MI, 2003.
Weights Classes (GVWR in lbs.) - Class 3: 10,001-14,000, Class 4: 14,001-16,000, Class 5: 16,001-19,500, Class 6: 19,501-26,000, Class 7: 26,001-33,000, Class 8: 33,001 and over.
Society of Automotive Engineers, www.sae.org.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE P1616 "IEEE Standard for Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorder (MVEDR)", New York, NY, 2005.
American Trucking Associations' Technology and Maintenance Council, Recommended Practices 1214 - Guidelines for Event Recording - Collection, Storage, and Retrieval, Alexandria, VA.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Event Data Recorders, NHTSA-2004-18029, Washington DC, June 14, 2004.