Industry News

Government safety ambition for self-driving vehicles is “too weak”

posted on 29/11/2023
Government safety ambition for self-driving vehicles is “too weak”

The Government’s safety ambition for self-driving vehicles (SDVs) to replicate the performance of a competent and careful human driver is too weak, the Transport Committee has said.

In a report released in September, the Transport Committee called for a clearer threshold and definition for its safety ambition but the Government has now rejected this recommendation.

Instead it says it intends to publish a statutory Statement of Safety Principles which will be used in the assessment of the safety of self-driving vehicles.

Iain Stewart, chair of the Transport Committee, said: “We remain concerned that the Government’s ambition for how safe SDVs should be may end up being too weak and too vague and that a more fleshed out, stronger threshold should be set out.

“We applaud the Government for staying ahead of our international competitors and bringing forward the Automated Vehicles Bill.

“It is also welcome that DfT is taking a serious look at other practical considerations around educating and training drivers, improving digital infrastructure and having regard for the wellbeing of other road users, including those with accessibility needs. However, we await more detail on those points.

“We look forward to scrutinising the Automated Vehicles Bill when it reaches the House of Commons.”

The Transport Committee’s report also included concerns that drivers of SVS could become less practised and skilled over time, while experiencing new demands of having to retake control of vehicles with little notice.

In response to a recommendation that DFfT should set out a strategy to confront this issue, including possible changes to driving tests, the Government said “work is underway to consider the education, training and licensing needs of drivers” as part of the CAVPASS programme including recent changes to the Highway Code and a “communication toolkit”.

The Transport Committee’s report urged ministers to “take a cautious, gradual approach with the technology introduced only in well-defined and appropriate contexts”.

It warned that “without careful handling, self-driving vehicles could worsen congestion and exacerbate existing inequalities in transport access”.

The Government’s response says the uptake of SDVs will be “gradual” to allow government to learn from trials and early deployments and for the public to adjust.

It adds: “In deciding whether to grant an automated passenger service permit, government must have regard to how the service will meet the needs og disabled and older persons.”

It warned that “without careful handling, self-driving vehicles could worsen congestion and exacerbate existing inequalities in transport access”.

The Government’s response says the uptake of SDVs will be “gradual” to allow government to learn from trials and early deployments and for the public to adjust.

It adds: “In deciding whether to grant an automated passenger service permit, government must have regard to how the service will meet the needs og disabled and older persons.”

*Article Source www.transportcommitte.co.uk

Related articles and services

Driving home for Christmas? Experts share what checks to complete before setting off  

Driving home for Christmas? Experts share what checks to complete before setting off