Concept of operations for an autonomous vehicle dispatch center

Systems like autonomous vehicles (AVs) that operate in uncertain environments can be expected to require some degree of human oversight for the foreseeable future. While remote operations centers exist for several modes of transportation, such as air traffic control, flight dispatch, rail dispatch, and public safety roles, limited attention has been given to the design of remote operations centers for AVs. The research team will address this gap by developing a concept of operations (CONOPS) for an autonomous vehicle remote operations center. The purpose of the CONOPS will be to describe the operational needs and systems characteristics for the system. The outcome of this project will be a CONOPS document including, at a minimum, the following components: (1) Description of relevant characteristics of current dispatch systems and environments. (2) A detailed description of the system including justification. (3) Scenarios illustrating use of the system in real-world environments including internal and external factors. CONOPS development will employ a systems-theoretic approach, analyzing the system holistically and explicitly considering both technical and sociotechnical aspects. The approach, which has been used previously by the Duke Humans and Autonomy Lab (HAL) for CONOPS development (Nneji, et al., 2018; Nneji, et al., 2017), includes the following high-level analysis and development activities: (1) Identify and interview relevant stakeholders: The project team will identify stakeholders with expertise in dispatch operations, and/or AVs and conduct structured interviews to identify characteristics, strengths, and limitations of remote operations centers that are relevant to AV deployment. (2) Define system boundaries and functional requirements: From the results of the interviews and literature reviews the project team will define key functional requirements of an AV remote operations center. This project will leverage models of dispatcher workload developed previously at HAL. These models assess dispatch roles performed during nominal and off nominal operations to identify task loads that lead to low, moderate and high workload levels. Because operators may face challenges responding quickly to emergency situations, the analysis will include exploring the possibility of incorporating advanced automated tools to assist the operators during periods of higher workload. The goal for the remote operations center design will be to maintain moderate workload levels for all operators, if possible, to support system safety.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $40,000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27514
  • Project Managers:

    Sandt, Laura

  • Performing Organizations:

    Duke University

    Durham, NC  United States  27708
  • Principal Investigators:

    Cummings, Missy

  • Start Date: 20180501
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210331
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01667894
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747113
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Apr 27 2018 4:16PM