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Mid-America Transportation Center

MoDOT Autonomous Leader-Follower TMA System: Development of Autonomous Trucks Operation Guidelines and Driver Training Process


Missouri University of Science & Technology

Principal Investigator
Xianbiao Hu
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $37,438
MoDOT: $34,320
MS&T: $3,118
Total Project Cost
$ 74,876
Agency ID or Contract Number
Start Date
End Date
Brief Description of Research Project
Mobile and slow moving operations, such as striping, sweeping, bridge flushing and pothole patching, are critical for efficient and safe operation of the highway transportation system. Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) slow moving operations have been crashed into over 80 times since 2013 resulting in many injuries to MoDOT employees. A successfully implemented leader-follower autonomous truck mounted attenuators (ATMA) system will eliminate all injuries to DOT employees in a follow truck (FT) provided appropriate statutory authority. The leader-follower system design imposes more requirements to the lead truck (LT) drivers in order to ensure a safe and smooth system operation. The driver is now required to make driving decisions not only from the lead truck’s perspective, but also consider the potential implications of his decisions to the follow truck. For example, when crossing a highway intersection, a regular driver can simply follow traffic signals and cross the intersection at any time in the green phase. However, for an ATMA lead truck driver, he may want to avoid crossing intersections at the end of a green phase, otherwise the follow truck won’t be able to pass and the lead truck will have to stop and wait for the follow truck to catch up. When scenarios like this happen, it’s very likely that the other vehicles will cut in between these two trucks and cause ATMA system failure. Another example is when vehicles are making turns at intersections, an ATMA driver will have to wait for a gap larger than normal to make sure both lead truck and follow truck can make the turns together. This project aims to develop a set of rules and clear instructions for ATMA system operation. Training materials for the lead truck drivers will also be developed.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
Web Links
Modal Orientation
  • Autonomous
  • Safety and Human Performance
  • Systems
  • Workforce Development