After just three years, Venturer has not only created a realistic environment where driverless simulations can be tested, but also provided suggestions for new legislation on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). These are now part of the framework for the government’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill currently making its way through Parliament.
Among its conclusions, the report highlights how it is still difficult to understand how driverless technology is defined. It calls on the government and legislators to define the term ‘driverless’, particularly SAE Level 3 (Conditional Automation), which is the next stage of driverless technology and the one that has the potential to cause the most confusion for motorists.
|0||No Automation||Fully controlled by human driver|
|1||Drive Assistance||Human driver but includes technology that helps with steering or acceleration/deceleration|
|2||Partial Automation||Human driver but includes technology that helps with steering and acceleration/deceleration|
|3||Conditional Automation||Vehicle is in control but with the expectation that the human driver will intervene if requested|
|4||High Automation||Vehicle is in control and remains so even if a human driver does not intervene when requested|
|5||Full Automation||Fully automated and does not require human interaction|
Currently, most vehicles on the UK roads have a maximum SAE Level of 2, however some are more capable than others. When it comes to SAE Level 3, there is even more confusion as it’s not clear what technology these vehicles will have as standard, and therefore how much responsibility lies with the vehicle itself as well as the driver.
|“After three years of the VENTURER project we have made leaps and bounds in terms of driverless technology and legislation. However, our final report reminds us that we must not forget the human element of CAVs. Owners need to know what the car is capable of as well as what they are legally allowed to do when behind the wheel, which is still yet to be defined.” David Williams, Technical Director, AXA UK
The report argues further investigations also need to be made into how safety standards will change, including driving tests, MOTs, services, and driving ability. At the same time, certain motoring laws may no longer be needed in the future, while others come into effect.
Other subjects explored by the VENTURER project include how driverless vehicles should be marketed to the public, not as ‘smart technology’ but technology that requires a certain level of human interaction. There are also ongoing conversations regarding the handover period and how the UK’s roads will need to adapt for the continued development of CAVs.
The next 30 years
|Major players in the European mobility sector signed a road safety pledge to contribute to achieving zero traffic fatalities by 2050.
The coalition includes the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), the association of national motoring organisations (FIA Region I), with strong support from the Dutch Bicycle and Automotive Industry Association (RAI Vereniging) and the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB).
The associations emphasised their commitment to support the road safety targets of the European Commission and member states. This pledge was signed in the presence of the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, and was officially handed over to her.
“By signing up to this common road safety vision, we commit to work together with other relevant stakeholders on an integrated approach to road safety,” stated Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of ACEA. “We believe that this is the only way to ensure that safe vehicles are driven by safe drivers on safe roads.”