A new report is calling for ‘driving tests’ for autonomous vehicles, to ensure they comply with the various road rules and safety requirements across all 28 EU member states.
The report, ‘Prioritising the Safety Potential of Automated Driving in Europe’, was published yesterday (26 April) by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, says that while automated vehicles are already starting to appear on Europe’s roads, regulators are “stuck in the slow lane”.
It recommends a revision of the EU type approval regime to ensure that automated vehicles comply with legal and safety requirements in all member states.
Autonomous vehicles are big business across the globe. The UK Government has repeatedly expressed its determination to take the lead in this area and in recent months has confirmed UK trials for driverless lorries, while also announcing a further £20m of investment into autonomous vehicle technology.
The ETSC says a major challenge for manufacturers of autonomous cars for use in Europe is making sure they are capable of following national road rules in all 28 EU countries – ‘hence the need for a comprehensive ‘driving test’ to independently verify that vehicles will operate safely under all conditions’.
Antonio Avenoso said: “It is crucial that we get a much greater understanding of what the real world safety benefits would be, and what new risks would be introduced before these vehicles are put on sale.”
The ETSC is also calling on the EU to introduce mandatory installation of ‘effective and proven driver assistance systems’ in all new cars.
The report says: “Automated driving technologies are already preventing collisions and deaths.
“Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is now mandatory on all new cars sold in Europe. Automated Emergency Braking (AEB), Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and lane keeping systems are increasingly commonplace.
“All these systems use technology to compensate, to some extent, for human error, taking some control away from the driver under certain circumstances.”