Audi of America; Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption From FMVSS No. 111, 56013-56017 [2019-22769]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 202 / Friday, October 18, 2019 / Notices Frequency: Annual. Nadine Pembleton, Director Office of Management Planning. [FR Doc. 2019–22744 Filed 10–17–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2019–0103] Audi of America; Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption From FMVSS No. 111 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of receipt of petition for temporary exemption from FMVSS No. 111, ‘‘Rear Visibility’’; request for comment. AGENCY: In accordance with the procedures in 49 CFR part 555, Audi of America (‘‘Audi’’) has petitioned NHTSA for a temporary exemption of vehicles from the requirements in FMVSS No. 111 that passenger cars, MPVs, and light trucks be equipped with an outside mirror on the driver’s side that meets certain field-of-view and mounting requirements. Instead of being equipped with FMVSS No. 111compliant outside mirrors that would provide the required view to the rear, the vehicles, if exempted, would be equipped with a Camera Monitor System (CMS) that, according to Audi, provides the driver with a videogenerated image on a monitor. Audi states that the video-generated image meets the standard’s field-of-view requirements that apply to outside mirrors on the driver’s side. Audi submitted its petition on the basis that an exemption is needed to facilitate the development and field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature (the CMS) and that that feature provides a level of safety at least equal to the level of safety would be provided if the vehicle were equipped with FMVSScompliant outside mirrors. NHTSA is publishing this document in accordance with statutory and administrative provisions, and requests comments on the petition. NHTSA has made no judgment on the merits of the petition. DATES: Comments on this petition must be submitted by November 18, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Koblenz, Office of Chief Counsel, Telephone: 202–366–2992, Facsimile: 202–366–3820 or Markus Price, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Oct 17, 2019 Jkt 250001 Telephone: 202–366–1810, Facsimile: 202–493–2990. The mailing address for these officials is: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. This document by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility, M–30, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12– 140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Fax: 202–493–2251. Regardless of how you submit your comments, please mention the docket number of this document. You may also call the Docket at 202– 366–9826. Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its decision-making process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.transportation.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking and response, the agency encourages commenters to provide their name, or the name of their organization; however, submission of names is completely optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely comments will be fully considered. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to www.regulations.gov, or the street address listed above. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Background PO 00000 Frm 00112 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 56013 a. FMVSS No. 111 Outside Mirror Requirement b. Statutory Authority and Regulatory Requirements II. Summary of Petition a. Recent CMS-Related Regulatory Activities b. Description of the CMS c. Documentation Establishing Innovative Nature of the CMS d. The CMS Provides a Level of Safety at Least Equivalent to the Level of Safety Established by Compliance With FMVSS No. 111, and Is in the Public Interest e. Substantiation That an Exemption Would Facilitate Audi’s Development and Field Evaluation of the CMS III. Requests for Comment IV. Completeness and Comment Period I. Background a. FMVSS No. 111 Outside Mirror Requirement Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 111, ‘‘Rear Visibility,’’ sets out requirements to ensure that passenger cars, Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles (MPVs), trucks, and buses, school buses, and low-speed vehicles provide drivers with ‘‘a clear and reasonably unobstructed view to the rear’’ of the vehicle. To this end, FMVSS No. 111, S5.2 requires that passenger cars must be equipped with an outside rearview mirror on the driver’s side. This mirror must provide the driver with a specified minimum field of view, be of unit magnification, and must be mounted according to certain specifications.1 Similarly, FMVSS No. 111 S6 requires that MPVs, trucks, and buses (other than a school bus) with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 4,536 kg or less be equipped with outside mirrors to provide rear visibility. Vehicles subject to S6 are required either to use ‘‘mirrors that conform to the requirements of S5,’’ 2 or to be equipped with mirrors on both sides of the vehicle which meet specified criteria for size and placement. Currently, FMVSS No. 111 does not permit compliance with either S5.2 or S6 through equipment other than ‘‘an outside mirror.’’ 3 b. Statutory Authority and Regulatory Requirements The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), codified 1 S5.2 requires that vehicles be equipped with a driver side outside mirror. 2 Note that S5 includes both an inside (S5.1) and outside (S5.2) mirror requirement. 3 NHTSA notes, however, that FMVSS does not prohibit the use of other technologies (such as cameras) alongside mirrors, so long as compliant required mirrors are present. NHTSA recently published an ANPRM seeking comment on whether the agency should consider amending FMVSS No. 111 to permit cameras as a compliance option in lieu of mirrors. See 84 FR 54533. E:\FR\FM\18OCN1.SGM 18OCN1 56014 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 202 / Friday, October 18, 2019 / Notices as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, provides the Secretary of Transportation authority to exempt, on a temporary basis and under specified circumstances, motor vehicles from a motor vehicle safety standard or bumper standard, ‘‘on terms the Secretary considers appropriate.’’ This authority is set forth at 49 U.S.C. 30113. The Secretary has delegated the authority for implementing this section to NHTSA. 49 CFR part 1.95. The Safety Act authorizes the Secretary to grant a temporary exemption to a vehicle manufacturer if the Secretary makes certain findings. For this petition, the relevant findings that the Secretary must make are: (1) The exemption is consistent with the public interest and with the objectives of 49 U.S.C. chapters 301 (Motor Vehicle Safety) or 325 (Bumper Standards) (as applicable); and (2) The exemption ‘‘would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature that provides a level of safety equivalent to that of the standard.’’ 4 NHTSA established 49 CFR part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory provisions concerning temporary exemptions. The petition content requirements, specified in 49 CFR 555.5, state that a petitioner must set forth the basis of the application by providing the required information under § 555.6, and the reasons why the exemption would be in the public interest and consistent with the objectives of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301. A petition under the basis that the exemption would facilitate the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature that provides a level of safety equivalent to that of the standard must include the information specified in 49 CFR 555.6(b). The main requirements of that section include: (1) A description of the safety or impact protection features, and research, development, and testing documentation establishing the innovational nature of such features; (2) an analysis establishing that the level of safety or impact protection of the feature is equivalent to or exceeds the level of safety or impact protection established in the standard(s) from which exemption is sought; (3) substantiation that a temporary exemption would facilitate the development or field evaluation of the vehicle; and (4) a statement of whether the Audi intends to conform to the standard at the end of the exemption period. 4 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Oct 17, 2019 Jkt 250001 II. Summary of Petition In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30113 and the procedures in 49 CFR part 555, Audi of America and its parent company, Audi AG (collectively, ‘‘Audi’’) 5 submitted a petition to NHTSA (received August 7, 2018) requesting a temporary exemption from the driver’s side outside rearview mirror requirements in sections S5.2, S5.2.1, S5.2.2, and S6 of FMVSS No. 111. The vehicles for which Audi is requesting an exemption would be fully electric multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs). In lieu of mirrors, Audi states that the exempted vehicles would be equipped with a Camera Monitoring System (CMS) that provides the driver with the same field of view as a compliant outside rearview mirror. Audi requests a two-year exemption, during which it asks to be permitted to sell 2,500 exempted vehicles for each 12-month period covered by the exemption (up to 5,000 vehicles). Audi does not intend to make its vehicles compliant with FMVSS No. 111 by the end of the exemption period, but notes that it hopes that FMVSS No. 111 would be amended by then to permit CMS as a compliance option instead of outside rearview mirrors. What follows is a summary of the information contained in Audi’s petition. The petition itself is available for review in the docket for this notice. Audi’s submission also included five additional supporting documents, which are cited as Attachments 1 through 5. While these supplemental documents are not independently summarized in this notice, they are available for review in the docket. Audi demonstrated the technology at NHTSA’s headquarters on June 27, 2019 via an Audi e-tron model equipped with a CMS instead of outside mirrors, although NHTSA was told that the system shown in the demonstration had different specifications than the CMS that would be sold pursuant to an exemption. Because NHTSA had outstanding questions about the CMS that is the subject of Audi’s exemption petition, NHTSA emailed Audi following this demonstration to request additional information. This information request and subsequent communications are also included in the docket, and the information that Audi provided is incorporated into this notice. Please note that this document is a notice of receipt which contains a description of Audi’s petition, as well as 5 Audi of America is incorporated in Virginia, with its headquarters in Herndon, VA. Audi AG is incorporated in Germany, with its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany. PO 00000 Frm 00113 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 some clarifying statements or questions from NHTSA. NHTSA has not yet made a final determination to grant or deny the petition. a. Recent CMS-Related Regulatory Activities Audi begins by providing background on recent CMS-related regulatory activities in the United States. Audi explains that, in 2014, Tesla and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers jointly filed a rulemaking petition requesting that NHTSA amend FMVSS No. 111 to permit certification using CMS rather than outside rearview mirrors.6 Audi states that, although NHTSA has not yet determined whether to amend FMVSS No. 111, an exemption to enable the company to conduct the research and development needed to introduce a mass-market CMS should NHTSA eventually decide to propose such an amendment. Audi then provides background on international regulatory actions relating to CMS, focusing specifically on the international adoption of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Regulation 46 (R46).7 R46 is an international type-approval standard that covers ‘‘the approval of devices for indirect vision and of motor vehicles with regard to the installation of these devices.’’ 8 In 2016, R46 was revised to permit the use of either mirrors or CMS on most new vehicles to meet rear-view requirements. According to Audi, roughly 50 countries, including Japan, have adopted the amended R46, and permit the use of CMS in lieu of 6 Audi provided a copy of the Alliance/Tesla petition for rulemaking with this exemption petition. The rulemaking petition, designated ‘‘Attachment 1,’’ Can be found in the docket for this rulemaking. We note that, although NHTSA has not officially acted on this petition, the agency did respond to the petition by submitting a letter containing a number of questions to Tesla and Alliance requesting additional information that the agency believed would be necessary to determine whether rulemaking would be appropriate. A copy of this letter can be found in the docket. As of the publication of this notice, NHTSA has not received a reply to these questions. 7 UN ECE R46 is a vehicle regulation established under the 1958 UN ECE Agreement Concerning the Adoption of Uniform Conditions of Approval and Reciprocal Recognition of Approval for Motor Vehicle Equipment and Parts (the ‘‘1958 Agreement’’). The 1958 Agreement is an international agreement that provides procedures for establishing uniform regulations regarding new motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment and for reciprocal acceptance of type-approvals issued under these regulations by contracting countries. While the United States is a member of the UN ECE, it is not a contracting party to the 1958 Agreement, and thus is not bound by standards established under the 1958 Agreement. 8 See https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/ trans/main/wp29/wp29regs/2016/R046r6e.pdf. E:\FR\FM\18OCN1.SGM 18OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 202 / Friday, October 18, 2019 / Notices outside mirrors.9 Audi also notes that Transport Canada requested comments on allowing camera-based rear visibility systems in October 2016. The petition states that Audi has received component-level type approval for the CMS, and is in the process of obtaining vehicle-level type approval by September 2018.10 11 Audi notes that its CMS’s default view would meet the field-of-view requirements for Class III rear-view devices under ECE R46.12 b. Description of the CMS Audi states that the CMS that would be installed on exempted vehicles would use two externally mounted cameras, which would be located at the base of the driver-side and passenger -side A-pillars (at the approximate location that outside mirrors are typically installed on vehicles). The cameras capture an image with a resolution of 1289x1080 pixels, and a refresh rate of 60 frames per second (FPS). The cameras include pan and zoom functionality, and the cameras’ exterior lenses are equipped with heaters and are coated with anti-stick material to minimize camera obstruction due to environmental contaminants like water, dirt, or ice. Audi states that each camera feeds into a control unit that performs the processing for all CMS functions, including converting camera data into an image, displaying the image on screens inside the vehicle (along with other warnings and system information 13), and carrying out selfdiagnostics to ensure the system functions properly. The CMS transmits the camera image to displays that are located near the top forward corner of the door, which are aimed toward the driver. Each display provides the image from the camera on the corresponding side of the vehicle. The displays are approximately 7 inches wide, and provide a resolution of 1280x800 with a refresh rate of 60 FPS.14 The displays use a capacitive touch system, which the driver can use to interact with and manipulate the CMS, such as by adjusting the image aim and level of zoom. Audi states that the CMS meets the requirements of UN ECE R46, provides additional safety and convenience features.15 Audi states in the petition that the CMS meets the FMVSS No. 111 field of view (FOV) requirements for outside mirrors when operating in its ‘‘default view.’’ However, the petition did not say whether the CMS image in the default view would be of ‘‘unit magnification’’ (i.e., not magnified), as 56015 is required under FMVSS No. 111, or whether the magnification level can be changed by the driver. In addition, the supporting documents that Audi submitted with the petition described three view modes other than the default view, which Audi calls Turnview, Parkview, and Highway view.16 However, these other view modes are not discussed in the petition. Finally, the petition did not provide details on how the CMS detects and alerts the driver to camera obstructions. To fill these information gaps, NHTSA sent Audi an email requesting additional information. Audi replied in an email sent August 1, 2019. In this email, Audi stated that the CMS’s default view shows an image of ‘‘unitary magnification (about 0.32) without a distortion.’’ We understand this to mean that the CMS image would be magnified such that the it would be approximately 1⁄3 the size of the image produced by a planar mirror that meets the unit magnification requirement of FMVSS No. 111. Audi also stated that it is not possible for drivers to adjust the CMS’s magnification manually. In addition, Audi provided details about the CMS’s other view modes, which are summarized in the below table: View mode Activation of view mode Deactivation of view mode Audi’s description of view Turnview ................ Actuation of the turn signal operating unit. Cancellation of the turn signal operating unit. Parkview ................ Switching to the ‘‘reverse’’ gear with vehicle speed less than 10 km/h. Switching out of the ‘‘reverse’’ gear, or if the vehicle speed exceeds 10km/h. Highwayview .......... The vehicle’s navigation system indicates that the vehicle is on a highway, and vehicle speed is greater than 80 km/h. The vehicle speed drops below 70 km/ h, or the vehicle’s navigation system indicates the vehicle has left the highway. An aspherical zone with an enlarged field of view on the outer side of the view. Audi says this reduces the size of the blind spot. An aspherical zone with an enlarged field of view on the lower side of the view. Audi says this view reduces the size of the blind spot for parking maneuvering. A smaller field of view that is magnified so that objects appear 2% larger. Audi says this enables better detection of fast-approaching vehicles on highways. Regarding camera obstruction, Audi stated that the CMS uses continuously active video analytics to detect dirt. Audi also stated that the camera is equipped with a heater to clear obstructions, and if that does not work, the system provides the driver with a message in the instrument cluster that the camera needs to be cleaned. The CMS is described in further detail in the petition and accompanying support documents, including NHTSA’s email exchange with Audi. These documents are all available in the 9 NHTSA has not taken a position on whether the amendments to ECE R46 that permit CMS provide a benefit to vehicle safety. 10 Although the petition does not identify the country from which type approval is being sought, the test report the petition cites as documentation for type-approval appears to have been obtained from a laboratory based in Germany. For more information on the type-approval process, see http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/automotive/ technical-harmonisation/faq-auto_en. 11 On October 30, 2018, NHTSA received from Audi supplemental documentation that it had received vehicle-level type approval for its CMS. The non-confidential portion of this documentation can be found in the docket. 12 ECE R46, 15.2.4.3 states that a Class III mirror must provide a view of the road that is 4 meters wide when measured 20 meters back from the mirror, and 1 meter wide when measured 4 meters back from the mirror. 13 Other functions include object detection, lane marking and warning, safe exit information, and blind spot detection. 14 We note that the display resolution (1280x800) is lower than resolution of the image captured by the camera (1289x1080). The petition does not explain what effect (if any) this difference would have on the image displayed to the driver. 15 Audi lists four additional safety features: Critical object detection, Marking and Warning, Safe Exit Information, and Blind Spot Detection. Audi does not provide information about the operation of these safety features. 16 These views are described in the supporting document titled ‘‘Attachment 3,’’ which can be found in the docket for this petition. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Oct 17, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00114 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\18OCN1.SGM 18OCN1 56016 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 202 / Friday, October 18, 2019 / Notices docket indicated in the header of this notice. c. Documentation Establishing Innovative Nature of the CMS Audi provides information about three separate research efforts that Audi argues establish the innovative and safety-improving nature of CMS. Audi first discusses a 2015 study conducted by the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), which Audi states investigated both technical and human-machine interface issues relating to CMS.17 Audi states that this study concluded (among other things) that it is possible for a CMS to provide a ‘‘quality’’ rear view to the driver. Audi next summarizes a 2017 study that it jointly conducted with Spiegel Institut Mannheim 18 that examined the performance and user acceptability of CMS as compared to rearview mirrors by having study participants use a CMS in a variety of scenarios, both moving and stationary.19 According to Audi, this study found that, while some participants initially expressed skepticism towards CMS, once the participants became familiar with the system, they found it performed comparably or better than conventional mirrors. Lastly, Audi describes a Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS) that is currently being conducted in the United States by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), in which five vehicle manufacturers (including Volkswagen Group, of which Audi is a part) and two ‘‘Tier One’’ suppliers are participating. Audi explains that this study will compare the performance and acceptance of CMS to that of rearview mirrors, but states that the research is ongoing and the results are not yet available. In addition to these research projects, Audi also states that the CMS that would be equipped on exempted vehicles incorporates qualitative feedback that Audi obtained from NHTSA regarding an earlier version of its CMS.20 17 The Final Report on this study published by BASt can be found in the docket for this petition. (‘‘Attachment 4’’) 18 Spiegel Institut Manheim is a German research and consulting firm. See https://www.spiegelinstitut.de/en/about-us/who-we-are. 19 A presentation by Audi and Spiegel Institut Mannheim describing this study and its results can be found in the docket for this petition. (‘‘Attachment 5’’) 20 NHTSA notes that the qualitative observations discussed in the petition were preliminary observations made by NHTSA researchers during an 8-week lease of a CMS-equipped Audi A4, and do not represent an official agency position on CMS generally or Audi’s proprietary CMS technology. NHTSA published a report of its findings, which VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:37 Oct 17, 2019 Jkt 250001 d. Audi Claims That the CMS Provides a Level of Safety At Least Equivalent to the Level of Safety Established by Compliance With FMVSS No. 111, and is in the Public Interest According to Audi, exempted vehicles would have an equivalent level of safety to those that comply with FMVSS No. 111 because the CMS with which they would be equipped provides the driver with a view of the vehicle rear that is ‘‘as good, if not better’’ than the view available using traditional mirrors. The petition specifically notes that the CMS meets the field-of-view requirements for FMVSS No. 111-compliant outside rearview mirrors when in its default 35° field-of-view setting. Moreover, the CMS’s field of view can be expanded to 43° at the driver’s option. As further evidence that the CMS would provide an equivalent level of safety to FMVSS No. 111-compliant outside mirrors, Audi states that its CMS meets the requirements of UN ECE R46, and that the CMS is designed to withstand 15 years of environmental exposure to wind, moisture, dirt, and other obstructions. Moreover, Audi states that the CMS includes features that mitigate possible lens obstructions, including a heated camera lens, and the use of a camera with a focus point well beyond the lens, which enables the lens to ‘‘look past’’ certain obstructions. Audi also states that, if an obstruction is sufficiently severe, the CMS will alert the driver to clear the obstruction from the camera. However, Audi does not provide details of how this obstruction detection system would work (alert threshold, detection reliability, etc.). The petition notes that the three CMS studies that are cited (including the ongoing VTTI study) ‘‘do not reveal a significant safety risk associated with CMS.’’ Moreover, the petition states that Volkswagen sold 250 vehicles equipped with a CMS in 2013 in Germany and Austria pursuant to an exemption to Europe’s standards. According to the petition, the customer feedback received was positive, with customers finding that, once they were familiar with the CMS, they found the system to be as good or better than rearview mirrors. The petition also states that the CMS provides environmental benefits due to its lower weight and improved aerodynamics as compared to rearview mirrors. According to the petition, exempted vehicles equipped with a CMS would have an additional 1.5% battery range, or a 1 gram per kilometer decrease in CO2 emissions, as compared to non-exempt vehicles with rearview mirrors. In addition, the petition notes that the CMS is included with additional features that provide safety information to the driver, including critical object detection, marking and warning, safe exit information, and blind-spot detection.21 According to the petition, these features would enhance the safety of exempted vehicles to beyond what is required under the FMVSS. include both positive and negative observations, in October 2018 (DOT HS 812 582). 21 We note that the performance specifications of these features are not included in the petition. PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 e. Substantiation That an Exemption Would Facilitate Audi’s Development and Field Evaluation of the CMS Audi states that an exemption is necessary for the company to conduct a field evaluation of its CMS, through which it will obtain data on customer acceptance and system performance in situations unique to the US market. To accomplish this research, Audi states that it intends to collect feedback from purchasers of exempted vehicles throughout the duration of the exemption period. This feedback would be collected through a survey given to customers when they bring the vehicle in for service, as well as though Audi’s customer care center. III. Requests for Comment NHTSA seeks comment on the information and analysis in Audi’s petition. In particular, NHTSA is interested in the issues raised in the following questions: 1. Does the public agree with Audi’s safety analysis generally? 2. Does Audi’s petition provide sufficient information on the operation of Audi’s CMS to enable NHTSA to make the findings required by statute to grant an exemption? If not, what additional information should the Audi provide, and why? 3. We seek comment on the safety impact of the CMS image being magnified by 0.32 times, as compared to a non-magnified image that would be produced by a compliant unit magnification mirror. 4. While the CMS’s Turnview, Parkview, and Highwayview modes may provide the safety benefits that Audi cites in its petition, it is also possible that the switch to these alternative view modes could have negative impacts on safety, such as driver disorientation. Should the agency consider placing any restrictions on the use of these alternative view modes as a condition of granting the petition? If so, what should those conditions be, and what is the basis for those conditions? E:\FR\FM\18OCN1.SGM 18OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 202 / Friday, October 18, 2019 / Notices 5. Are there data on the likelihood that some drivers may find that they are unable to use the CMS, but will not know this at the time of sale? Should NHTSA require that exempted vehicles include a warning label to inform potential customers of this possibility? 6. The field of view defined by S5.2.1 of FMVSS No. 111 for driver’s side outside mirrors differs from the field of view defined by ECE R46 for Class III mirrors (Class III is the mirror class for which Audi’s CMS has received type approval according to the documents submitted with the petition).22 In view of these differences, what weight should NHTSA give Audi’s statement that the CMS complies with R46? Relatedly, what are the testing situations unique to the US market to which the petition refers? 7. How and to what extent should NHTSA consider in its safety analysis the inclusion of safety features that provide the driver with non-visual information about the driving environment (e.g., blind spot detection)? 8. How should NHTSA consider the incomplete VTTI study cited in the petition, especially given that the study has not yet produced results? 9. To inform possible future rulemaking activities in this area to permit CMS on all vehicles in place of mirrors, if NHTSA were to grant Audi an exemption, should the agency condition the exemption on submitting reports on the on-road experiences of Audi’s vehicles? If so, what information should Audi be required to report? IV. Comment Period The agency has not made any judgment on the merits of the petition, and is placing a copy of the petition and supporting information in the docket. The agency seeks comment from the public on the merits of Audi’s petition for a temporary exemption from paragraphs FMVSS No. 111, ‘‘Rear Visibility’’. We are providing a 30-day comment period. After considering the petition, the public comments and other available information, we will publish a notice of final action on the petition in the Federal Register. 22 FMVSS 111, S5.2 .1 states that passenger car mirrors must provide a view of the road that is 2.4 meters wide when measured 10.7 meters behind the mirror. ECE R46, 15.2.4.3 states that a Class III mirror must provide a view of the road that is 4 meters wide when measured 20 meters back from the mirror, and 1 meter wide when measured 4 meters back from the mirror. Overall, these differences mean that the required field of view for the driver’s side mirror under FMVSS 111 is narrower than the required field of view for a driver’s side Class III mirror under ECE R46 when measured close to the mirror, but wider than ECE R46 when measured further back from the mirror. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:37 Oct 17, 2019 Jkt 250001 Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.4. James Clayton Owens, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–22769 Filed 10–17–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Department of the Treasury. ACTION: Notice of a modified system of records. AGENCY: In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of the Treasury (‘‘Treasury’’ or the ‘‘Department’’), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, proposes to modify a system of records titled, ‘‘Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller .220—Notices of Proposed Changes in Employees, Officers and Directors Tracking System—Treasury/Comptroller.’’ This electronic system, is used to maintain the applications, background materials, and tracking information related to applications submitted by OCCregulated entities for approval of employees, proposed directors or senior executive officers of a national bank, federal savings association, or federal branches of foreign banks; and requests from foreign banking supervisors for information about a former or existing employee of an OCC-regulated institution. Records in this system may be contained in an electronic system used by the OCC’s Large Bank Supervision examiners or in an electronic system used by the OCC’s Midsize and Community Bank supervision examiners, depending on the bank to which the records pertain. Additional copies of information may be contained in paper working files. DATES: Submit comments on or before November 18, 2019. The new routine use will be applicable on November 18, 2019 unless Treasury receives comments and determines that changes to the system of records notice are necessary. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted to the OCC by any of the methods set forth below. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or email, if possible. Please use the title ‘‘Privacy Act’’ to facilitate the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 56017 organization and distribution of the comments. You may submit comments by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal— ‘‘Regulations.gov’’: Go to www.regulations.gov. Enter ‘‘Docket ID OCC–2019–0026’’ in the Search Box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Click on ‘‘Comment Now’’ to submit public comments. • Click on the ‘‘Help’’ tab on the Regulations.gov home page to get information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for submitting public comments. • Email: regs.comments@ occ.treas.gov. • Mail: Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 400 7th Street SW, Suite 3E–218, Washington, DC 20219. • Hand Delivery/Courier: 400 7th Street SW, Suite 3E–218, Washington, DC 20219. • Fax: (571) 465–4326. Instructions: You must include ‘‘OCC’’ as the agency name and ‘‘Docket ID OCC–2019–0026’’ in your comment. The OCC will enter all comments received into the docket and publish the comments on the Regulations.gov website without change, including any business or personal information that you provide such as name and address information, email addresses, or phone numbers. All comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. All comments received will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. You should submit only information that you wish to make publicly available. Do not include any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure. You may review comments and other related materials that pertain to this rulemaking action by any of the following methods: Viewing Comments Electronically: Go to www.regulations.gov. Enter ‘‘Docket ID OCC–2019–0026’’ in the Search box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Click on ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ on the right side of the screen. Comments and supporting materials can be viewed and filtered by clicking on ‘‘View all documents and comments in this docket’’ and then using the filtering tools on the left side of the screen. • Click on the ‘‘Help’’ tab on the Regulations.gov home page to get information on using Regulations.gov. The docket may be viewed after the E:\FR\FM\18OCN1.SGM 18OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 202 (Friday, October 18, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56013-56017]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-22769]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2019-0103]


Audi of America; Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption From 
FMVSS No. 111

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of receipt of petition for temporary exemption from 
FMVSS No. 111, ``Rear Visibility''; request for comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In accordance with the procedures in 49 CFR part 555, Audi of 
America (``Audi'') has petitioned NHTSA for a temporary exemption of 
vehicles from the requirements in FMVSS No. 111 that passenger cars, 
MPVs, and light trucks be equipped with an outside mirror on the 
driver's side that meets certain field-of-view and mounting 
requirements. Instead of being equipped with FMVSS No. 111-compliant 
outside mirrors that would provide the required view to the rear, the 
vehicles, if exempted, would be equipped with a Camera Monitor System 
(CMS) that, according to Audi, provides the driver with a video-
generated image on a monitor. Audi states that the video-generated 
image meets the standard's field-of-view requirements that apply to 
outside mirrors on the driver's side. Audi submitted its petition on 
the basis that an exemption is needed to facilitate the development and 
field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature (the CMS) and 
that that feature provides a level of safety at least equal to the 
level of safety would be provided if the vehicle were equipped with 
FMVSS-compliant outside mirrors. NHTSA is publishing this document in 
accordance with statutory and administrative provisions, and requests 
comments on the petition. NHTSA has made no judgment on the merits of 
the petition.

DATES: Comments on this petition must be submitted by November 18, 
2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Koblenz, Office of Chief 
Counsel, Telephone: 202-366-2992, Facsimile: 202-366-3820 or Markus 
Price, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, Telephone: 202-366-1810, 
Facsimile: 202-493-2990. The mailing address for these officials is: 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE, Washington, DC 20590.
    This document by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 
Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
    Regardless of how you submit your comments, please mention the 
docket number of this document.
    You may also call the Docket at 202-366-9826.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public 
Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section of this 
document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its decision-making process. 
DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal 
information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as 
described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can 
be reviewed at www.transportation.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate 
comment tracking and response, the agency encourages commenters to 
provide their name, or the name of their organization; however, 
submission of names is completely optional. Whether or not commenters 
identify themselves, all timely comments will be fully considered.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to www.regulations.gov, or the street address 
listed above. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background
    a. FMVSS No. 111 Outside Mirror Requirement
    b. Statutory Authority and Regulatory Requirements
II. Summary of Petition
    a. Recent CMS-Related Regulatory Activities
    b. Description of the CMS
    c. Documentation Establishing Innovative Nature of the CMS
    d. The CMS Provides a Level of Safety at Least Equivalent to the 
Level of Safety Established by Compliance With FMVSS No. 111, and Is 
in the Public Interest
    e. Substantiation That an Exemption Would Facilitate Audi's 
Development and Field Evaluation of the CMS
III. Requests for Comment
IV. Completeness and Comment Period

I. Background

a. FMVSS No. 111 Outside Mirror Requirement

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 111, ``Rear 
Visibility,'' sets out requirements to ensure that passenger cars, 
Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles (MPVs), trucks, and buses, school 
buses, and low-speed vehicles provide drivers with ``a clear and 
reasonably unobstructed view to the rear'' of the vehicle. To this end, 
FMVSS No. 111, S5.2 requires that passenger cars must be equipped with 
an outside rearview mirror on the driver's side. This mirror must 
provide the driver with a specified minimum field of view, be of unit 
magnification, and must be mounted according to certain 
specifications.\1\ Similarly, FMVSS No. 111 S6 requires that MPVs, 
trucks, and buses (other than a school bus) with a Gross Vehicle Weight 
Rating of 4,536 kg or less be equipped with outside mirrors to provide 
rear visibility. Vehicles subject to S6 are required either to use 
``mirrors that conform to the requirements of S5,'' \2\ or to be 
equipped with mirrors on both sides of the vehicle which meet specified 
criteria for size and placement. Currently, FMVSS No. 111 does not 
permit compliance with either S5.2 or S6 through equipment other than 
``an outside mirror.'' \3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ S5.2 requires that vehicles be equipped with a driver side 
outside mirror.
    \2\ Note that S5 includes both an inside (S5.1) and outside 
(S5.2) mirror requirement.
    \3\ NHTSA notes, however, that FMVSS does not prohibit the use 
of other technologies (such as cameras) alongside mirrors, so long 
as compliant required mirrors are present. NHTSA recently published 
an ANPRM seeking comment on whether the agency should consider 
amending FMVSS No. 111 to permit cameras as a compliance option in 
lieu of mirrors. See 84 FR 54533.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

b. Statutory Authority and Regulatory Requirements

    The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), 
codified

[[Page 56014]]

as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, provides the Secretary of Transportation 
authority to exempt, on a temporary basis and under specified 
circumstances, motor vehicles from a motor vehicle safety standard or 
bumper standard, ``on terms the Secretary considers appropriate.'' This 
authority is set forth at 49 U.S.C. 30113. The Secretary has delegated 
the authority for implementing this section to NHTSA. 49 CFR part 1.95.
    The Safety Act authorizes the Secretary to grant a temporary 
exemption to a vehicle manufacturer if the Secretary makes certain 
findings. For this petition, the relevant findings that the Secretary 
must make are:
    (1) The exemption is consistent with the public interest and with 
the objectives of 49 U.S.C. chapters 301 (Motor Vehicle Safety) or 325 
(Bumper Standards) (as applicable); and
    (2) The exemption ``would facilitate the development or field 
evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature that provides a level 
of safety equivalent to that of the standard.'' \4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA established 49 CFR part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor 
Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory 
provisions concerning temporary exemptions. The petition content 
requirements, specified in 49 CFR 555.5, state that a petitioner must 
set forth the basis of the application by providing the required 
information under Sec.  555.6, and the reasons why the exemption would 
be in the public interest and consistent with the objectives of 49 
U.S.C. Chapter 301.
    A petition under the basis that the exemption would facilitate the 
development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature 
that provides a level of safety equivalent to that of the standard must 
include the information specified in 49 CFR 555.6(b). The main 
requirements of that section include: (1) A description of the safety 
or impact protection features, and research, development, and testing 
documentation establishing the innovational nature of such features; 
(2) an analysis establishing that the level of safety or impact 
protection of the feature is equivalent to or exceeds the level of 
safety or impact protection established in the standard(s) from which 
exemption is sought; (3) substantiation that a temporary exemption 
would facilitate the development or field evaluation of the vehicle; 
and (4) a statement of whether the Audi intends to conform to the 
standard at the end of the exemption period.

II. Summary of Petition

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30113 and the procedures in 49 CFR 
part 555, Audi of America and its parent company, Audi AG 
(collectively, ``Audi'') \5\ submitted a petition to NHTSA (received 
August 7, 2018) requesting a temporary exemption from the driver's side 
outside rearview mirror requirements in sections S5.2, S5.2.1, S5.2.2, 
and S6 of FMVSS No. 111. The vehicles for which Audi is requesting an 
exemption would be fully electric multipurpose passenger vehicles 
(MPVs). In lieu of mirrors, Audi states that the exempted vehicles 
would be equipped with a Camera Monitoring System (CMS) that provides 
the driver with the same field of view as a compliant outside rearview 
mirror. Audi requests a two-year exemption, during which it asks to be 
permitted to sell 2,500 exempted vehicles for each 12-month period 
covered by the exemption (up to 5,000 vehicles). Audi does not intend 
to make its vehicles compliant with FMVSS No. 111 by the end of the 
exemption period, but notes that it hopes that FMVSS No. 111 would be 
amended by then to permit CMS as a compliance option instead of outside 
rearview mirrors.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Audi of America is incorporated in Virginia, with its 
headquarters in Herndon, VA. Audi AG is incorporated in Germany, 
with its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What follows is a summary of the information contained in Audi's 
petition. The petition itself is available for review in the docket for 
this notice. Audi's submission also included five additional supporting 
documents, which are cited as Attachments 1 through 5. While these 
supplemental documents are not independently summarized in this notice, 
they are available for review in the docket. Audi demonstrated the 
technology at NHTSA's headquarters on June 27, 2019 via an Audi e-tron 
model equipped with a CMS instead of outside mirrors, although NHTSA 
was told that the system shown in the demonstration had different 
specifications than the CMS that would be sold pursuant to an 
exemption. Because NHTSA had outstanding questions about the CMS that 
is the subject of Audi's exemption petition, NHTSA emailed Audi 
following this demonstration to request additional information. This 
information request and subsequent communications are also included in 
the docket, and the information that Audi provided is incorporated into 
this notice. Please note that this document is a notice of receipt 
which contains a description of Audi's petition, as well as some 
clarifying statements or questions from NHTSA. NHTSA has not yet made a 
final determination to grant or deny the petition.

a. Recent CMS-Related Regulatory Activities

    Audi begins by providing background on recent CMS-related 
regulatory activities in the United States. Audi explains that, in 
2014, Tesla and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers jointly filed 
a rulemaking petition requesting that NHTSA amend FMVSS No. 111 to 
permit certification using CMS rather than outside rearview mirrors.\6\ 
Audi states that, although NHTSA has not yet determined whether to 
amend FMVSS No. 111, an exemption to enable the company to conduct the 
research and development needed to introduce a mass-market CMS should 
NHTSA eventually decide to propose such an amendment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Audi provided a copy of the Alliance/Tesla petition for 
rulemaking with this exemption petition. The rulemaking petition, 
designated ``Attachment 1,'' Can be found in the docket for this 
rulemaking. We note that, although NHTSA has not officially acted on 
this petition, the agency did respond to the petition by submitting 
a letter containing a number of questions to Tesla and Alliance 
requesting additional information that the agency believed would be 
necessary to determine whether rulemaking would be appropriate. A 
copy of this letter can be found in the docket. As of the 
publication of this notice, NHTSA has not received a reply to these 
questions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Audi then provides background on international regulatory actions 
relating to CMS, focusing specifically on the international adoption of 
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Regulation 46 
(R46).\7\ R46 is an international type-approval standard that covers 
``the approval of devices for indirect vision and of motor vehicles 
with regard to the installation of these devices.'' \8\ In 2016, R46 
was revised to permit the use of either mirrors or CMS on most new 
vehicles to meet rear-view requirements. According to Audi, roughly 50 
countries, including Japan, have adopted the amended R46, and permit 
the use of CMS in lieu of

[[Page 56015]]

outside mirrors.\9\ Audi also notes that Transport Canada requested 
comments on allowing camera-based rear visibility systems in October 
2016. The petition states that Audi has received component-level type 
approval for the CMS, and is in the process of obtaining vehicle-level 
type approval by September 2018.10 11 Audi notes that its 
CMS's default view would meet the field-of-view requirements for Class 
III rear-view devices under ECE R46.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ UN ECE R46 is a vehicle regulation established under the 
1958 UN ECE Agreement Concerning the Adoption of Uniform Conditions 
of Approval and Reciprocal Recognition of Approval for Motor Vehicle 
Equipment and Parts (the ``1958 Agreement''). The 1958 Agreement is 
an international agreement that provides procedures for establishing 
uniform regulations regarding new motor vehicles and motor vehicle 
equipment and for reciprocal acceptance of type-approvals issued 
under these regulations by contracting countries. While the United 
States is a member of the UN ECE, it is not a contracting party to 
the 1958 Agreement, and thus is not bound by standards established 
under the 1958 Agreement.
    \8\ See https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/main/wp29/wp29regs/2016/R046r6e.pdf.
    \9\ NHTSA has not taken a position on whether the amendments to 
ECE R46 that permit CMS provide a benefit to vehicle safety.
    \10\ Although the petition does not identify the country from 
which type approval is being sought, the test report the petition 
cites as documentation for type-approval appears to have been 
obtained from a laboratory based in Germany. For more information on 
the type-approval process, see http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/automotive/technical-harmonisation/faq-auto_en.
    \11\ On October 30, 2018, NHTSA received from Audi supplemental 
documentation that it had received vehicle-level type approval for 
its CMS. The non-confidential portion of this documentation can be 
found in the docket.
    \12\ ECE R46, 15.2.4.3 states that a Class III mirror must 
provide a view of the road that is 4 meters wide when measured 20 
meters back from the mirror, and 1 meter wide when measured 4 meters 
back from the mirror.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

b. Description of the CMS

    Audi states that the CMS that would be installed on exempted 
vehicles would use two externally mounted cameras, which would be 
located at the base of the driver-side and passenger -side A-pillars 
(at the approximate location that outside mirrors are typically 
installed on vehicles). The cameras capture an image with a resolution 
of 1289x1080 pixels, and a refresh rate of 60 frames per second (FPS). 
The cameras include pan and zoom functionality, and the cameras' 
exterior lenses are equipped with heaters and are coated with anti-
stick material to minimize camera obstruction due to environmental 
contaminants like water, dirt, or ice.
    Audi states that each camera feeds into a control unit that 
performs the processing for all CMS functions, including converting 
camera data into an image, displaying the image on screens inside the 
vehicle (along with other warnings and system information \13\), and 
carrying out self-diagnostics to ensure the system functions properly. 
The CMS transmits the camera image to displays that are located near 
the top forward corner of the door, which are aimed toward the driver. 
Each display provides the image from the camera on the corresponding 
side of the vehicle. The displays are approximately 7 inches wide, and 
provide a resolution of 1280x800 with a refresh rate of 60 FPS.\14\ The 
displays use a capacitive touch system, which the driver can use to 
interact with and manipulate the CMS, such as by adjusting the image 
aim and level of zoom. Audi states that the CMS meets the requirements 
of UN ECE R46, provides additional safety and convenience features.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Other functions include object detection, lane marking and 
warning, safe exit information, and blind spot detection.
    \14\ We note that the display resolution (1280x800) is lower 
than resolution of the image captured by the camera (1289x1080). The 
petition does not explain what effect (if any) this difference would 
have on the image displayed to the driver.
    \15\ Audi lists four additional safety features: Critical object 
detection, Marking and Warning, Safe Exit Information, and Blind 
Spot Detection. Audi does not provide information about the 
operation of these safety features.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Audi states in the petition that the CMS meets the FMVSS No. 111 
field of view (FOV) requirements for outside mirrors when operating in 
its ``default view.'' However, the petition did not say whether the CMS 
image in the default view would be of ``unit magnification'' (i.e., not 
magnified), as is required under FMVSS No. 111, or whether the 
magnification level can be changed by the driver. In addition, the 
supporting documents that Audi submitted with the petition described 
three view modes other than the default view, which Audi calls 
Turnview, Parkview, and Highway view.\16\ However, these other view 
modes are not discussed in the petition. Finally, the petition did not 
provide details on how the CMS detects and alerts the driver to camera 
obstructions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ These views are described in the supporting document titled 
``Attachment 3,'' which can be found in the docket for this 
petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To fill these information gaps, NHTSA sent Audi an email requesting 
additional information. Audi replied in an email sent August 1, 2019. 
In this email, Audi stated that the CMS's default view shows an image 
of ``unitary magnification (about 0.32) without a distortion.'' We 
understand this to mean that the CMS image would be magnified such that 
the it would be approximately \1/3\ the size of the image produced by a 
planar mirror that meets the unit magnification requirement of FMVSS 
No. 111. Audi also stated that it is not possible for drivers to adjust 
the CMS's magnification manually. In addition, Audi provided details 
about the CMS's other view modes, which are summarized in the below 
table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Deactivation of view    Audi's description of
              View mode                Activation of view mode            mode                     view
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turnview.............................  Actuation of the turn    Cancellation of the      An aspherical zone with
                                        signal operating unit.   turn signal operating    an enlarged field of
                                                                 unit.                    view on the outer side
                                                                                          of the view. Audi says
                                                                                          this reduces the size
                                                                                          of the blind spot.
Parkview.............................  Switching to the         Switching out of the     An aspherical zone with
                                        ``reverse'' gear with    ``reverse'' gear, or     an enlarged field of
                                        vehicle speed less       if the vehicle speed     view on the lower side
                                        than 10 km/h.            exceeds 10km/h.          of the view. Audi says
                                                                                          this view reduces the
                                                                                          size of the blind spot
                                                                                          for parking
                                                                                          maneuvering.
Highwayview..........................  The vehicle's            The vehicle speed drops  A smaller field of view
                                        navigation system        below 70 km/h, or the    that is magnified so
                                        indicates that the       vehicle's navigation     that objects appear 2%
                                        vehicle is on a          system indicates the     larger. Audi says this
                                        highway, and vehicle     vehicle has left the     enables better
                                        speed is greater than    highway.                 detection of fast-
                                        80 km/h.                                          approaching vehicles
                                                                                          on highways.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regarding camera obstruction, Audi stated that the CMS uses 
continuously active video analytics to detect dirt. Audi also stated 
that the camera is equipped with a heater to clear obstructions, and if 
that does not work, the system provides the driver with a message in 
the instrument cluster that the camera needs to be cleaned.
    The CMS is described in further detail in the petition and 
accompanying support documents, including NHTSA's email exchange with 
Audi. These documents are all available in the

[[Page 56016]]

docket indicated in the header of this notice.

c. Documentation Establishing Innovative Nature of the CMS

    Audi provides information about three separate research efforts 
that Audi argues establish the innovative and safety-improving nature 
of CMS. Audi first discusses a 2015 study conducted by the German 
Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), which Audi states 
investigated both technical and human-machine interface issues relating 
to CMS.\17\ Audi states that this study concluded (among other things) 
that it is possible for a CMS to provide a ``quality'' rear view to the 
driver. Audi next summarizes a 2017 study that it jointly conducted 
with Spiegel Institut Mannheim \18\ that examined the performance and 
user acceptability of CMS as compared to rearview mirrors by having 
study participants use a CMS in a variety of scenarios, both moving and 
stationary.\19\ According to Audi, this study found that, while some 
participants initially expressed skepticism towards CMS, once the 
participants became familiar with the system, they found it performed 
comparably or better than conventional mirrors.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ The Final Report on this study published by BASt can be 
found in the docket for this petition. (``Attachment 4'')
    \18\ Spiegel Institut Manheim is a German research and 
consulting firm. See https://www.spiegel-institut.de/en/about-us/who-we-are.
    \19\ A presentation by Audi and Spiegel Institut Mannheim 
describing this study and its results can be found in the docket for 
this petition. (``Attachment 5'')
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lastly, Audi describes a Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS) that is 
currently being conducted in the United States by the Virginia Tech 
Transportation Institute (VTTI), in which five vehicle manufacturers 
(including Volkswagen Group, of which Audi is a part) and two ``Tier 
One'' suppliers are participating. Audi explains that this study will 
compare the performance and acceptance of CMS to that of rearview 
mirrors, but states that the research is ongoing and the results are 
not yet available.
    In addition to these research projects, Audi also states that the 
CMS that would be equipped on exempted vehicles incorporates 
qualitative feedback that Audi obtained from NHTSA regarding an earlier 
version of its CMS.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ NHTSA notes that the qualitative observations discussed in 
the petition were preliminary observations made by NHTSA researchers 
during an 8-week lease of a CMS-equipped Audi A4, and do not 
represent an official agency position on CMS generally or Audi's 
proprietary CMS technology. NHTSA published a report of its 
findings, which include both positive and negative observations, in 
October 2018 (DOT HS 812 582).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

d. Audi Claims That the CMS Provides a Level of Safety At Least 
Equivalent to the Level of Safety Established by Compliance With FMVSS 
No. 111, and is in the Public Interest

    According to Audi, exempted vehicles would have an equivalent level 
of safety to those that comply with FMVSS No. 111 because the CMS with 
which they would be equipped provides the driver with a view of the 
vehicle rear that is ``as good, if not better'' than the view available 
using traditional mirrors. The petition specifically notes that the CMS 
meets the field-of-view requirements for FMVSS No. 111-compliant 
outside rearview mirrors when in its default 35[deg] field-of-view 
setting. Moreover, the CMS's field of view can be expanded to 43[deg] 
at the driver's option.
    As further evidence that the CMS would provide an equivalent level 
of safety to FMVSS No. 111-compliant outside mirrors, Audi states that 
its CMS meets the requirements of UN ECE R46, and that the CMS is 
designed to withstand 15 years of environmental exposure to wind, 
moisture, dirt, and other obstructions. Moreover, Audi states that the 
CMS includes features that mitigate possible lens obstructions, 
including a heated camera lens, and the use of a camera with a focus 
point well beyond the lens, which enables the lens to ``look past'' 
certain obstructions. Audi also states that, if an obstruction is 
sufficiently severe, the CMS will alert the driver to clear the 
obstruction from the camera. However, Audi does not provide details of 
how this obstruction detection system would work (alert threshold, 
detection reliability, etc.).
    The petition notes that the three CMS studies that are cited 
(including the ongoing VTTI study) ``do not reveal a significant safety 
risk associated with CMS.'' Moreover, the petition states that 
Volkswagen sold 250 vehicles equipped with a CMS in 2013 in Germany and 
Austria pursuant to an exemption to Europe's standards. According to 
the petition, the customer feedback received was positive, with 
customers finding that, once they were familiar with the CMS, they 
found the system to be as good or better than rearview mirrors.
    The petition also states that the CMS provides environmental 
benefits due to its lower weight and improved aerodynamics as compared 
to rearview mirrors. According to the petition, exempted vehicles 
equipped with a CMS would have an additional 1.5% battery range, or a 1 
gram per kilometer decrease in CO2 emissions, as compared to 
non-exempt vehicles with rearview mirrors. In addition, the petition 
notes that the CMS is included with additional features that provide 
safety information to the driver, including critical object detection, 
marking and warning, safe exit information, and blind-spot 
detection.\21\ According to the petition, these features would enhance 
the safety of exempted vehicles to beyond what is required under the 
FMVSS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ We note that the performance specifications of these 
features are not included in the petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

e. Substantiation That an Exemption Would Facilitate Audi's Development 
and Field Evaluation of the CMS

    Audi states that an exemption is necessary for the company to 
conduct a field evaluation of its CMS, through which it will obtain 
data on customer acceptance and system performance in situations unique 
to the US market. To accomplish this research, Audi states that it 
intends to collect feedback from purchasers of exempted vehicles 
throughout the duration of the exemption period. This feedback would be 
collected through a survey given to customers when they bring the 
vehicle in for service, as well as though Audi's customer care center.

III. Requests for Comment

    NHTSA seeks comment on the information and analysis in Audi's 
petition. In particular, NHTSA is interested in the issues raised in 
the following questions:
    1. Does the public agree with Audi's safety analysis generally?
    2. Does Audi's petition provide sufficient information on the 
operation of Audi's CMS to enable NHTSA to make the findings required 
by statute to grant an exemption? If not, what additional information 
should the Audi provide, and why?
    3. We seek comment on the safety impact of the CMS image being 
magnified by 0.32 times, as compared to a non-magnified image that 
would be produced by a compliant unit magnification mirror.
    4. While the CMS's Turnview, Parkview, and Highwayview modes may 
provide the safety benefits that Audi cites in its petition, it is also 
possible that the switch to these alternative view modes could have 
negative impacts on safety, such as driver disorientation. Should the 
agency consider placing any restrictions on the use of these 
alternative view modes as a condition of granting the petition? If so, 
what should those conditions be, and what is the basis for those 
conditions?

[[Page 56017]]

    5. Are there data on the likelihood that some drivers may find that 
they are unable to use the CMS, but will not know this at the time of 
sale? Should NHTSA require that exempted vehicles include a warning 
label to inform potential customers of this possibility?
    6. The field of view defined by S5.2.1 of FMVSS No. 111 for 
driver's side outside mirrors differs from the field of view defined by 
ECE R46 for Class III mirrors (Class III is the mirror class for which 
Audi's CMS has received type approval according to the documents 
submitted with the petition).\22\ In view of these differences, what 
weight should NHTSA give Audi's statement that the CMS complies with 
R46? Relatedly, what are the testing situations unique to the US market 
to which the petition refers?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ FMVSS 111, S5.2 .1 states that passenger car mirrors must 
provide a view of the road that is 2.4 meters wide when measured 
10.7 meters behind the mirror. ECE R46, 15.2.4.3 states that a Class 
III mirror must provide a view of the road that is 4 meters wide 
when measured 20 meters back from the mirror, and 1 meter wide when 
measured 4 meters back from the mirror. Overall, these differences 
mean that the required field of view for the driver's side mirror 
under FMVSS 111 is narrower than the required field of view for a 
driver's side Class III mirror under ECE R46 when measured close to 
the mirror, but wider than ECE R46 when measured further back from 
the mirror.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    7. How and to what extent should NHTSA consider in its safety 
analysis the inclusion of safety features that provide the driver with 
non-visual information about the driving environment (e.g., blind spot 
detection)?
    8. How should NHTSA consider the incomplete VTTI study cited in the 
petition, especially given that the study has not yet produced results?
    9. To inform possible future rulemaking activities in this area to 
permit CMS on all vehicles in place of mirrors, if NHTSA were to grant 
Audi an exemption, should the agency condition the exemption on 
submitting reports on the on-road experiences of Audi's vehicles? If 
so, what information should Audi be required to report?

IV. Comment Period

    The agency has not made any judgment on the merits of the petition, 
and is placing a copy of the petition and supporting information in the 
docket.
    The agency seeks comment from the public on the merits of Audi's 
petition for a temporary exemption from paragraphs FMVSS No. 111, 
``Rear Visibility''. We are providing a 30-day comment period. After 
considering the petition, the public comments and other available 
information, we will publish a notice of final action on the petition 
in the Federal Register.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 
1.95 and 501.4.
James Clayton Owens,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-22769 Filed 10-17-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P