The Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety, a project of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), recently released a report with recommendations to address public policy and safety issues that have the potential to slow or halt deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs). The recommendations are intended to foster increased collaboration between industry and regulators, and improve public confidence in AV technology, according to the comission.
“The novelty and complexity of autonomous vehicles has created gaps between regulators, industry, and the general public,” said Commission Chairman Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “With so much at stake, we urge AV developers to coalesce around common standards, metrics, and commitments to specific safety protocols in advance of widespread deployment and commercialization—as the technology is highly vulnerable in its current nascent state.”
“Autonomous vehicles have the potential to spark the greatest positive change in our society since the industrial revolution,” said SAFE President and Chief Executive Officer Robbie Diamond. “Our current surface transportation system is slow, inefficient, inaccessible to large swaths of the population, and almost singularly fueled by oil—contributing to many of our nation’s economic and foreign policy challenges. Autonomous vehicles will mitigate these issues, and I applaud the Commission for their hard work in addressing the early regulatory and safety challenges. We hope that these are living and breathing recommendations that will be revisited as technology advances and experience is gained.”
Recommendations Designed to Improve Public Confidence
- The Commission recommends that AV providers move to on road testing and deployment only once confident that the vehicle’s performance is as safe as the average human driver, accounting for backup drivers, speed restrictions, geofencing and other safety measures.
- The Commission encourages AV providers to create safety milestones for AV development. The Commission further encourages public disclosure of achieved milestones and accompanying validation.
- The Commission encourages developers to deploy redundant layers of technology to increase safety beyond any minimum required standard.
- The Commission encourages developers to clearly define and effectively communicate autonomous features, including their limitations.
Recommended Steps Toward an Industry-Driven Regulatory Framework
- The Commission encourages AV providers to formally collaborate through a technical data consortium to accelerate AV learning and safety through shared, anonymized information.
- The Commission recommends that industry formulate objective, practical, quantitative metrics for measuring AV safety.
- The Commission recommends that any future framework for regulating AVs rest on a modern foundation reflecting the advanced software-driven nature of vehicle automation.
The members of the Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety are:
- Major General Mark Rosenker, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), Former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board; Commission Chairman
- Admiral Dennis C. Blair, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Former Director of National Intelligence; Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command
- Paul Brubaker, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Transportation Innovation
- Robert Lange, Principal and Corporate Vice President, Exponent; Former Executive Director, Product Safety, General Motors
- Cuneyt Oge, President, SAE International
The report can be read in its entirety here.