More clarity needed on automated and assisted driving systems

Posted on: 16 August 2017

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Insurers have highlighted the potential dangers of ‘autonomous ambiguity’, as vehicles with different levels of autonomy increasingly become a feature on our roads.

With important changes being defined by international regulators on what assisted and automated systems can and can't do, the Automated Driving Insurer Group (ADIG), led by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), in collaboration with Thatcham Research, has released a white paper setting out the latest position of UK insurers.

New whitepaper published

The ‘Regulating Automated Driving’ paper shows that UK insurers strongly support vehicle automation, believing they’ll deliver a reduction in accidents. However, there are real concerns about driver confusion, caused by ‘intermediate automated systems’. These systems offer significant self-driving capability,but the driver still needs to take back control of the vehicle in certain circumstances.

The paper suggests that more clarity between assisted and automated systems is needed by regulators. A vehicle should be clearly identified and marketed as automated only when:

  • The driver can safely disengage in the knowledge that the car has sufficient capabilities to deal with virtually all situations on the road;
  • A vehicle encounters a situation it can’t handle, that it has the ability to come to a safe stop;
  • The autonomous system can avoid all conceivable crash types and can continue to function adequately in the event of a partial system failure;
  • Both insurers and vehicle manufacturers can immediately access data to identify whether the driver or vehicle is liable in the case of an accident, without ambiguity.

The Name Game

The paper also highlights the need for more clarity in how manufacturers give names to assisted driving systems. Peter Shaw, CEO of Thatcham Research states “Vehicle manufacturers should be judicious in badging and marketing such systems, avoiding terms which could be misinterpreted as denoting full autonomy. Hybrid systems which creep into the intermediate grey area between assisted and automated should also be avoided.”

Find out more from our updated article about the future of mobility.