FIM participates in debate on automated driving and road safety: future opportunities and challenges
On the 4th September, FIM attended the debate ‘Automated driving and road safety: future opportunities and challenges’ organised by DEKRA. The event acknowledged the increased development of automated driving in the coming years and had the objective to explore the road safety implications in the course of transition towards new forms of mobility.
The keynote speaker, Mrs Elisabeth Werner, Director Land Transport of European Commission DG MOVE, opened the debate by highlighting safety as one of the strongest trademarks of Europe. There has been significant progress on road safety achieved by the European lawmakers in the recent years, including the most recent legislative proposals on the review of the General Safety and Pedestrian Safety framework. Mrs Werner however expressed concerns that despite the various legislative measure, studies show that still many occurring road accidents could have been prevented. European Commission has set the ambitious target of having zero road fatalities by 2050 and reducing serious injuries with 50% by 2030. Mrs Werner agreed that automation will be one of the tools to achieve these goals but also challenges the regulators with its complexity. She concluded by ensuring the audience that the regulatory framework will continue to be adapted to the gradual deployment of new technologies by focusing not only on technical aspects but also on societal matters such as future skills and training needs, together with driving licenses rules.
Following, Mr Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council, expressed concerns that in the last 3 years there was just 2% reduction in the number of road fatalities, therefore he encouraged stakeholders to be more ambitious and active. In his opinion, automated driving has the potential to improve road safety- especially in terms of respecting speed limits and decreasing drunk driving. Still, due to the complexity of the matter, society should be cautious when adapting to the new technologies. Mr Avenoso advised policy makers and automotive manufactures to prioritise short term life saving measures such as advanced emergency braking systems and event data recorders that are already available. He found that the regulators are not ready for the deployment of autonomous vehicles He clarified that there are no existing type approval procedures for autonomous vehicles and the exemption procedure for new technologies were not transparent and robust enough. Finally, Mr Avenoso outlined the importance of passive safety stating that collision avoidance technologies will reduce but not completely eliminate the number of collisions.
In conclusion, Frank Leimback, Director Technical Affairs in DEKRA presented the risks and challenges of automation from industry point of view. He explained the five different levels of automation and stated that soon drivers will be able to completely shift some safety-critical functions to the vehicle, under certain traffic or environmental conditions (automation level 3). With fast development of new technologies, Mr Leimback expected that type approval procedures will gradually change e.g. through the over the air update function. Finally, Mr Leimback presented different suggestions to solve the access to in-vehicle data and recommended as solutions sending the vehicle data twice- to a car manufacturer server and trust centre allowing for access for third parties.
During the Q&A session the audience raised various questions regarding liability implications of accidents with autonomous vehicles, driver’s data privacy and cybersecurity issues. The debate with the participants reconfirmed that the discussion on automated driving would continue to be one of the important topics for policy makers, consumers and industry.