Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

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.

Project Highlights

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Final Report

05-087 Final Report

EWD & T2 Products

Coming Soon


Coming Soon

Final Dataset

Coming Soon

Research Investigators (PI*)

Subasish Das (TTI/TAMU)*
Ioannis Tsapakis  (TTI/TAMU)*
Zachary Elgart  (TTI/TAMU)
Boniphace Kutela  (TTI/TAMU)
Eric Li  (VT/VTTI)
Zihang Wei (Student-TTI/TAMU)
Ly-Na Tran  (Student-TTI/TAMU)

Project Information

Start Date: 2020-01-10
End Date: 2022-05-31
Status: Complete
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $803,700
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: 05-087

Safe-D Theme Areas

Automated Vehicles

Safe-D Application Areas

Risk Assessment
Planning for Safety
Performance Measures

UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
3135 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-3135

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061