A revolution in vehicle technology is taking place, led by the private sector. Vehicles with connected technologies are on the roads today, and, every year, technology is taking over a larger portion of the driving task. Auto and technology companies have been designing these technologies for many years. The public sector and academia have gotten involved more recently. A major benefit of these connected, automated vehicle technologies will be improved traffic safety but crashes will still occur for the foreseeable future.
The roles of emergency responders and their processes are just beginning to adapt to these new technologies. Even before we reach the implementation of fully automated vehicles, these technologies will affect incident response and questions abound. What will happen when a crash occurs? Will responders need to respond differently? Will the severity of crashes increase because when the technology fails, it could fail catastrophically? Will new players be involved in incident response? How will liability or responsibility be assigned? Are there new or changing risks to responders?
In addition, will this new technology provide more data to the responders so that the response activities will change? For example, will the responders have information related to the crash severity, airbag deployment, number of occupants, fuel spills, etc. so that responders can be better prepared prior to arriving at the scene. While incidents vary widely and the specific characteristics will dictate what responses are needed, this project is principally concerned with primary emergency responders, including law enforcement, fire departments, emergency medical services, safety service patrols, towing and recovery specialists, and hazardous materials responders.
The objective of this research is to develop guidance to prepare emergency responders for the deployment of connected, automated vehicle technologies. This guidance will include (1) a summary of information on connected, automated vehicle technologies and their impact on incidents and incident response that will be useful to a broad range of emergency responders; (2) effective practices (e.g., strategies, processes, procedures, standards) that address the needs of emergency responders; and (3) recommendations for ongoing structures to incorporate emergency responder perspectives into the development of connected, automated vehicle technologies.
Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objective. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task. Proposers are expected to present a research plan that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective. NCHRP may choose to publish interim work products. The research approach should address this potential.
The research plan shall describe appropriate deliverables that include, but are not limited to the following:
- White papers for each type of emergency response describing (1) the aspects of connected, automated vehicle technologies that may affect that response, (2) formats best suited for presenting this type of information to emergency responders, and (3) distribution approaches for making the information accessible.
- A synthesis of effective practices and procedures currently being used by emergency response organizations to deal with connected, automated vehicle technologies.
- Summaries of interviews with representatives of the connected, automated vehicle technology industry to determine how emergency response perspectives are being considered in the development, deployment, and operation of these technologies.
- A white paper on approaches that could remedy issues that arise from the interactions between emergency responders and connected, automated vehicle technologies. These could include standards for connected, automated vehicle technologies; responder requirements; model legislation and regulations; and data and communications standards.
- A variety of products suitable for use within the connected, automated vehicle technology and emergency response communities. These products should be designed for training, presentation, informational, and other purposes. Some should be customizable to increase their effectiveness.
- A final report that documents the entire research effort with an executive summary. The report should describe approaches that could be taken at local, regional, state, and national levels to incorporate emergency response perspectives into the development, deployment, and operation of connected, automated driving technologies.
- An implementation plan that identifies opportunities for dissemination and moving research into practice. This plan should recognize and address the special challenges associated with the public and private sector emergency response organizations and practitioners, including the large number of organizations, limited resources, existing training requirements, and the role of volunteers.
The research plan may include additional deliverables as well as additional panel meetings via teleconferences. The research plan shall include a schedule for completion of the research that includes 3 months for panel review and for contractor revision of the final research product(s).
STATUS: Research in progress.