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Road safety body warns self-driving vehicles will not stop crashes, autonomous tech needs education

The arrival of autonomous vehicles will happen worldwide, but no one can accurately predict the date. But with the industry and technology maturing every day, there are some short-term and future challenges that need to be addressed.

IAM RoadSmart, a UK-based independent road safety charity, has emphasized that government and car manufacturers should prioritize driver training in its evidence for a House of Commons Transport Committee investigation.

It says the UK government recently set out its plans to introduce self-driving vehicles on roads from 2025, with some vehicles with self-driving features set to be on motorways as early as next year.

IAM RoadSmart has urged the House of Commons Transport Committee to ensure that autonomous vehicles do not negatively impact road safety or impose restrictions on drivers. The main concern for road safety is the level of knowledge and experience of current British motorists. Most road users currently have no direct experience with self-driving vehicle technology and assumptions about vehicle safety are not based on field tests on UK roads.

According to a study conducted by IAM RoadSmart, in collaboration with Southampton University, there can be an over-reliance on self-driving technology, especially when control is switched between the vehicle and the driver. However, simulator studies have clearly shown that coaching produces safer drivers. The charity has urged automakers and governments to educate drivers about the capabilities of the technology, help them understand that they still need to pay attention, and understand how different types of road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycles, will deal with autonomous vehicles. systems.

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Neil Greig, Policy and Research Director, IAM RoadSmart said: “We support the Government’s intention to make the UK a global leader in driverless technology, but there is a critical need to train drivers in the new skills they will need to become increasingly autonomous. cars.”

“Research clearly shows that drivers who know what to expect if a self-driving car suddenly gives back control, are better able to deal with the situation calmly and safely. It is vital that the government works with the DVSA and training providers, such as IAM RoadSmart, to develop new tools to train drivers.”

“Fortunately, people are deviating from the assumption that self-driving cars will eliminate the 90 percent of collisions that would be caused by human error. With further research, we can understand all the factors that could play a role in future collisions,” Greig added.

The nonprofit says the new Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB) will address these concerns to some extent, and evaluating the safety performance of self-driving cars should be a top priority for the industry. The independent RSIB will draw lessons from road accidents and autonomous technology, conduct investigations, evaluate safety trends and ensure road safety policies are fit for purpose.

“We welcome the establishment of the RSIB and its intention to monitor the impact of automation on road safety. It is best placed to provide strategic insights, but studies must be fully funded to ensure that the right expertise is recruited and key findings can be shared,” concludes Neil.


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