While fully self driving vehicles are not yet a common feature on our roads an increasing amount of driver assistance technology is being fitted to vehicles, including driving aids such as collision avoidance systems, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, etc. While assisting the driver all these systems require the driver to remain alert and in control at all times.
As technology develops we can expect more advanced systems to emerge, it is anticipated limited systems that allow automated driving in restricted circumstances, for example on designated roads such as motorways, will lead the way to fully self-driving vehicles. However there are a number of challenges including practical, legislative and insurance issues to work through before fully automated driving becomes the norm.
Together with the Association of British Insurers, Thatcham Research has produced a report setting out 12 key principles to ensure a safe transition period between Assisted and Automated Driving.
The report is aimed at governments, regulators and manufacturers and covers factors such as:
- Avoiding customer confusion for example by using clear language in adverts and manuals
- System requirements including software updates, reliability for an extended period e.g. 10 years of use and cyber resilience
- Suitable user / driver monitoring, allowing safe handover between the driver and automated systems
- Where it may be permitted for the person in charge of a vehicle to carry out other tasks that would distract their attention from the road
- Procedures for starting, stopping and using automated driving, making sure the handover between the system and the driver is safe and how the system should act if the person in charge does not take back control of the vehicle when they should.
- Providing data to insurance companies when collisions do occur.
While in the long term it is expected that automated driving will have a positive impact on road safety it is important that the transition is safely managed and that drivers understand their obligations and the limits of new systems to avoid unintended consequences.
When providing vehicles for use at work it is also important that organisations make sure the vehicles are suitable and that drivers are properly trained. At PIB Risk management our team can help you to develop and implement suitable occupational Road Risk / Safe Driving policies. Please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact or get in touch using email@example.com if you have any questions.
The report “Defining Safe Automated Driving” can be downloaded from the Thatcham website at: https://www.thatcham.org/what-we-do/automated-driving