Mr. William Wratschko
Customs Clearance International, Inc.
880 Apollo St. #334
El Segundo, CA 90245
RE: The tariff classification and status under the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement (UAFTA), of the Driver State Sensor product (DSS) from Australia.
Dear Mr Wratschko:
In your letter dated January 29, 2009, on behalf of Seeing Machines, Inc., you requested a ruling on the status of the Driver State Sensor product (DSS) from Australia under the UAFTA.
The item concerned is referred to as the Driver State Sensor or DSS. This system is a camera based driver monitoring system which derives information about a driver’s attention to the road and the driver’s fatigue level. The DSS is an automatic sensor system that uses face tracking techniques to deliver information on operator fatigue and distraction. The DSS has been specifically designed for deployment into vehicles & environments where fatigue and inattention need to be monitored and managed.
The key components of the DSS are a rugged processing unit (computer), a driver sensor (digital camera with lens) and two unobtrusive and safe infra-red LED illumination units. In addition, this item will be shipped with the following auxiliary components, a speaker for audio warnings, a GPS sensor to detect vehicle motion and speed, a 4 GB USB drive to record data from the processing unit, and various brackets and electrical cables.
The DSS can be used in a variety of ways. This unit can be used in the trucking, mining or aerospace industries. It can be used to warn drivers of fatigue and distraction. It uses the speaker to provide an audible warning to the driver; however the speaker is only one option. The speaker could be replaced with a light or a vibrating seat. The DSS can also be used, without any type of warning options, as a research tool. It would just record/track the fatigue and distraction responses on the 4 GB USB drive for analysis at a later time.
This system is also used in research facilities. When designing an automobile this system would be used to monitor driver behavior as it relates to automobile design features. DSS is a cost-effective sensor platform designed specifically for driver behavior research. It is the first system to enable real-time naturalistic driver monitoring for both small and large scale studies.
The data obtained can be stored on an on-board memory stick for later analysis, or the data can be directly sent (back to base) from the DSS to a GPRS communication system to provide real-time warnings when fatigue could present a safety risk.
In operation this system continuously runs a face finding algorithm which ensures automatic subject calibration and re-acquisition. It then automatically generates a face model that takes into account unique facial features. This process takes less than a second. Once this model is created, the DSS begins real-time 3D head pose tracking, providing metrics on subject distraction and attention. Head pose is tracked to +/- 90 degrees of rotation. The system then finds and tracks eyelid closure, monitoring the frequency and duration of blinks as well as eye aperture. All data is then output for logging purposes or real-time analysis.
You have proposed classification of the DSS (Driver State Sensor) in subheading 8512.30.0040 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) which provides for “Electrical…signaling equipment…of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles: Sound signaling equipment: Other”.
The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and the GRIs. EN 85.12 says, “The heading includes, inter alia : (12) Horns, sirens and other electrical sound signaling appliances. (13) Electrical apparatus which emit audio signals to warn the driver of the proximity of vehicles or other objects behind the vehicle when reversing…. (14) Electrical apparatus of a kind used in a motor vehicle to warn the driver, by a visual or audio signals, that a speed detection device….is operating in the vicinity.”
You state that the DSS system can:
Alert the driver with a visual signal (flashing light) which might place it in 8512.20.40 of the HTSUS.
Alert the driver with an auditory signal which might place it in your suggested heading of 8512.30.00 of the HTSUS.
Alert the driver with a stimulatory signal (vibrating seat) which is neither visual, nor auditory and would exclude it from subheading 8512.30.00 or, it records the violation on a removable USB flash unit and, once the violation is generated, transmits both the recorded information, including vehicle location using a built in Global Positioning System (GPS), to the driver’s dispatcher at a remote location.
Based on the multiple tasks performed by the DSS system that fall outside the scope of the HTSUS heading 8512, classification under that heading would not be appropriate.
The applicable subheading for the Driver State Sensor product (DSS) will be 8543.70.9650, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Electrical machines and apparatus…: Other machines and apparatus: Other: Other: Other: Other.” The rate of duty will be 2.6%.
General Note 28(b), HTSUS, sets forth the criteria for determining whether a good is originating under the UAFTA. General Note 28(b), HTSUS, (19 U.S.C. § 1202) states, in pertinent part, that
For the purposes of this note, subject to the provisions of subdivisions (c), (d), (m) and (n) thereof, a good imported into the customs territory of the United States is eligible for treatment as an originating good of a UAFTA country under the terms of this note only if –
(i) the good is a good wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of Australia or of the United States, or both;
(ii) the good was produced entirely in the territory of Australia or of the United States, or both, and—
(A) each of the nonoriginating materials used in the production of the good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification specified in subdivision (n) of this note;
(B) the good otherwise satisfies any applicable regional value content requirement referred to in subdivision (n) of this note; or
(C) the good meets any other requirements specified in subdivision (n) of this note;
and such good satisfies all other applicable requirements of this note;
(iii) the good was produced entirely in the territory of Australia or of the United States, or both, exclusively from materials described in subdivision (b)(i) or (b)(ii) of this note; or
(iv) the good otherwise qualifies as an originating good under this note,
and is imported directly into the customs territory of the United States from the territory of Australia.
Based on the information supplied the merchandise concerned does not qualify for preferential treatment under the UAFTA because none of the above requirements are met.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Steve Pollichino at (646) 733-3008.
Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of International Trade, Regulations and Rulings Mint Annex, 799 9th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001-4501.
Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division