Autonomous Delivery Vehicle as a Disruptive Technology: How to Shape the Future with a Focus on Safety?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently granted permission to deploy low-speed autonomous delivery vehicles (ADVs). Unlike conventional low-speed vehicles, these ADVs are designed to have no human occupants and they operate exclusively using an automated driving system. However, extensive safety-related issues of these vehicles have not been examined. With the enormous growth of e-commerce, light deliveries have increased tremendously in the last few years. Additionally, the ongoing pandemic COVID-19 clearly indicates the quintessential need for a human-less delivery system. To make these delivery systems effective, it is critically important to perform a rigorous investigation of the associated safety issues. The goal of this project is to examine the safety-critical issues associated with ADVs. The main research questions include: What are the existing capabilities of ADVs in terms of safety? Are ADVs safe compared to conventional delivery vehicles? How can we determine the safety performance measures of the ADVs? What measures are needed to be considered for safe deployments of ADVs? This research involves conducting a review of the literature; gathering and integrating several datasets such as aggregated ADV trips and trajectories, ADV incidents, demographic data, crash, roadway, and traffic data, and crowdsourced data from multiple sources; performing rigorous analysis to determine the safety effects of ADVs and developing a decision support tool to provide contexts of potential deployment zones for ADVs.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $803700
  • 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:

    Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center (Safe-D)

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24060
  • Project Managers:

    Glenn, Eric

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)

    400 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South
    Suite 300
    College Station, TX  United States  77845-4375

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

    3500 Transportation Research Plaza
    Blacksburg, Virginia  United States  24061
  • Principal Investigators:

    Das , Subasish

  • Start Date: 20210110
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230531
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01754622
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center (Safe-D)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747115
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 13 2020 12:09PM