Autonomous vehicles ‘to reduce collisions by 22%’

12.08 | 11 September 2019 | | | 3 comments

One in five fatal and serious collisions could be prevented with the introduction of automated vehicles, according to new research.

The study, carried out by TRL, considered a scenario where traditional and autonomous vehicles coexist on UK roads – looking specifically at one and two vehicle collisions.

It concluded 22% of collisions – in which one of the vehicles was replaced by a ‘level 4’ automated vehicle – could be avoided.

This type of vehicle is controlled for the entire dynamic driving task, so that the human driver is not required or expected to intervene. 

Based on the prediction that 8%-19% of the total car fleet will be autonomous by 2040, the report estimates that up to 650 fatal and serious injury collisions could be prevented annually.

It also suggests there will be a reduction in collisions at junctions (10%), collisions involving vulnerable road users (10%) and single vehicle run off road collisions (12%). 

However, the report bemoans a lack of publicly available data on the introduction of automated technology and its behaviour in near misses and collision scenarios.

Richard Cuerden, director of the TRL Academy, said: “Our analysis suggests the introduction of automated vehicles to our roads is likely to bring the biggest change in road safety since the introduction of the seatbelt. 

“However, more data is needed to build a more in-depth and robust view of future collisions and opportunities for improving occupant protection.

“It is also essential to ensure the right high-tech expertise is in place to investigate collisions that involve automated vehicle technologies so that lessons can be learnt as quickly as possible to determine how improvements can be made in the future.”


 

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    Yes I realised that Paul, but it wasn’t clear whether the reductions were due to the autonomous vehicles avoiding a collision caused by a human road user’s mistake i.e. defensive driving if you like – or, not causing a collision in the first place that a human road user might have done, given the same circumstances. In other words, will autonomous vehicles be successful simply because they are programmed not to cause collisions at all, or are they so advanced that they can avoid all collisions, caused by others which many human drivers can do already (but admittedly nowhere near enough).


    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
    0

    Hugh, that’s not what TRL have concluded. The report says that when a proportion of the vehicle fleet is autonomous, the number of collisions is expected to reduce. They’re working on the premise that 81-92% of vehicles will still be driven by humans in 2040. And a 22% reduction in colliisons is worth having.

    To quote:
    “Based on the prediction that 8%-19% of the total car fleet will be autonomous by 2040 the report estimates that up to 650 fatal and serious injury collisions could be prevented annually… 22% of collisions – in which one of the vehicles was replaced by a ‘level 4’ automated vehicle – could be avoided”


    Paul Copeland, Beverley
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)
    +3

    Hang on a sec.. autonomous vehicles have constantly been promoted as being the answer to all collisions, but the authorities are now seemingly conceding merely a reduction in collisions will be achieved and not great reductions at that. Is all the effort really worth it?


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (12) | Disagree (2)
    +10

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