Autonomous safety and driver roles discussed in new paper

04 February 2019

04 February 2019

Fleet risk management and driver training provider DriveTech has launched a new white paper which discusses the role of the driver in autonomous vehicles.

′Autonomous driving – will they be safer and where does this leave the ′driver’?’ takes stock of the variously documented and reported moves towards the truly autonomous (driverless) vehicle. The technology is being developed by some manufacturers and other companies with plans to introduce it on roads as soon as possible.

At the core of the debate is not necessarily just the technological challenge of creating a vehicle that can move, navigate and communicate on its own, but the more all-embracing global and infrastructure requirements to make such an idea a reality on public highways across the world, while ensuring safety – a primary concern.

The paper touches on the key issues around safety, road infrastructure, the ′Safe System’ underpinning much of safe transport policy going forward, regulatory and enforcement considerations, and the needs for robust international standards and conventions as well as a robust cybersecurity environment.

While much is being done to develop the technology going forward, there also needs to be an infrastructure that can work with autonomous technology. This ranges from simple white line painting through to the establishment of 5G networks to ensure cars remain connected to data servers and can navigate safely. Manufacturers also need to develop new forms of security to make sure driverless services cannot be ′hacked’.

DriveTech’s paper also looks at the role of the driver as this potentially brave new world emerges. It suggests that the fully autonomous vehicle world is a way off yet but that drivers need to be brought on the journey of understanding as vehicle technology changes. The paper concludes that, for the foreseeable future, we leave the driver and driver education behind at our peril.
Commenting on the launch, Colin Paterson, head of marketing, said: ′As a professional risk management and driver training organisation, we look at various aspects of managing a fleet safely and cost-effectively – driver training is a core component. We have looked at the cost of collisions, the impact driver training can have, and on how driver behaviour can affect fleet running costs including insurance and maintenance and repair. This autonomous vehicle whitepaper takes a broad look at a future paradigm shift in mobility that is the promise of autonomous vehicles. We hope it can help stimulate debate and ensure the driver and driver education is not forgotten, ensuring we continue to address real-time safety on our roads.’

Autonomous vehicle testing is starting to take place on public roads. The UK has allowed such schemes to use its network, while Volvo’s joint venture has been granted access to Sweden’s high-speed road network.