New guidelines for safe automated driving

Thatcham Research and the ABI publish 12 key requirements to minimise bumps on the road towards fully automated driving...

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Claire Evans
11 September 2019

Thatcham autonomous driving

New guidelines for car makers, international regulators and the Government have been unveiled by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Thatcham Research to ensure the responsible use of automated driving systems. 

The suggested ‘rules’ for safe automated driving are aimed at minimising the potential risks as we move away from driver assistance systems to fully automated cars. 

Thatcham autonomous driving

The key issues to be considered are: providing a good level of user support; monitoring the user; having systems that are designed to work in specific locations, such as motorways; providing clear information about starting, using and ending automated driving; providing systems that are secure from cyber attacks and provide safe driving modes and collision protection; give the driver the ability to do secondary tasks, such as receive emails, while they’re not driving; and the systems need to be upgradable and repairable so they won’t represent a big increase in expense for owners and insurers. 

It’s widely believed that British drivers will be sharing certain stretches of motorway with cars operating in automated modes by 2021, and by 2025 we’ll be able to buy cars with full automation. 

Thatcham autonomous driving

Matthew Avery, director of insurance research at Thatcham Research, commented: “Governments and car makers are keen to promote automated driving systems for long-term societal benefit. Decreases in road fatalities have plateaued over the past decade, and automated driving is rightly seen as a sea change for road safety. However, new and emerging technologies with inexperienced users, in an increasingly complex highways environment, requires heightened levels of vigilance from regulators, vehicle manufacturers and users.

“The vehicle needs to play a guardian angel role. This is important because if the systems can’t handle a scenario, it can bring the driver back into the loop. If the driver does not respond, the system should be able to assess the road ahead and road conditions, just as a person would, and decide on the safest action to keep the car’s occupants and those around them safe.”


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