By Çetin Meriçli and Michael Wagner
Meriçli is Co-founder & CEO of Locomation; Wagner is Founder & CEO of Edge Case Research.
Trucks transport more than 70% of freight in the U.S., and demand is outpacing available capacity. Meanwhile, most long-haul trucks sit idle more than 16 hours every single day. With the persistent driver shortages and equipment scarcity, capacity constraints are forcing carriers to turn down orders at record levels.
Locomation’s solution addresses this shortage. The Autonomous Relay ConvoySM (ARC) system consists of two trucks and two human drivers. The human driver of the lead truck directs the convoy, and the second truck follows using Locomation’s autonomy system while its driver rests in the sleeper berth. At the appropriate time, the drivers switch places, allowing them to drive up to the total allowable time for two human drivers in a day, 22 hours. With ARC, carriers will be able to safely deliver 2x the cargo, 2x faster, and 2x farther.
In order to deliver these benefits, Locomation’s autonomous trucking systems must be transparently and verifiably safe. To ensure that they are, Locomation adopted the widely used “safety case” approach. A safety case is a structured argument based on evidence to justify that a system is safe for specific use cases and operating conditions. This approach will be the mechanism to guide the vehicles’ safe development and to substantiate safety claims in the final design, verification, and validation stages.
Edge Case Research collaborated with industry and government to pioneer the development of ANSI/UL 4600, the leading standard to address safety principles and a process for assessing autonomous vehicle safety using the safety case approach. Locomation partnered with Edge Case to develop our safety case based on Edge Case’s experience developing autonomous vehicle safety cases. We share the common mission of delivering safe autonomous technology to help solve some of society’s biggest problems.
Locomation used Edge Case’s nLoop safety case framework, multiple industry standards, and best practices to shape the ARC safety case. The joint team then mapped the safety case to the ARC operational concept and developed a roadmap to ensure safety was the driving focus for the design, development, testing, and operation of the ARC system. Following a safety case based approach will speed the development and adoption of ARC technology, which in turn will help relieve some of the demand and capacity burden facing the trucking industry.