New opinion poll finds that the UK public is positive about the benefits of self-driving vehicles, as BSI publishes new safety guidance
18 November 2021
- Research finds that public confidence in automated vehicles is boosted by the presence of a safety operator.
- Almost three quarters of the public surveyed (70 per cent) see benefits in CAVs
- Nearly three fifths (59 per cent) said they would feel more confident as a passenger in an automated vehicle knowing an onboard safety operator could take control or intervene if necessary, with over 40 per cent saying the safety operator would make them feel more confident as a pedestrian
As BSI publishes its latest safety standard for automated vehicles, a new opinion poll shows that the public are positive about the potential benefits of self-driving technologies, and confidence is boosted by onboard safety operators.
BSI has launched the latest in its series of standards from the CAV Standards Programme to promote safe trialling and testing of Automated Vehicles on public roads. The new guide promotes good practice in the training and use of safety operators, a common feature in trials and testing of connected and automated vehicles (CAV), to help manage safety risks and supervise the operation of the vehicles as technology advances.
An opinion poll of 1,000 people in the UK showed public confidence in CAVs was boosted by the presence of a safety operator whilst the technology is being trialled and tested. Nearly three fifths (59 per cent) said they would feel more confident as a passenger in a CAV knowing an onboard safety operator could take control or intervene if necessary, with over 40 per cent saying the safety operator would make them feel more confident as a pedestrian.
The research by BSI found almost three quarters of the public surveyed (70 per cent) see benefits including safety gains, with the potential for reduction in driver error and accidents rating as the top benefit. People aged 18-24 years see the most potential benefit of the technology, compared to other age groups. However, while the public was largely positive around the benefits of CAVs, respondents indicated ‘trust in the technology’ poses the biggest barrier to acceptance. 39 per cent cited trust issues related to ethics, safety and security.
The new standard, PAS 1884, Safety operators in automated vehicle testing and trialling – Guide, gives guidance for organizations engaged in automated vehicle trialling and developmental testing that use safety operators. It covers comprehensive training of the safety operator including, responsibilities of the trialling organization and safety operator, safety operator selection and fitness to drive. The training covers a number of items including, hazards and mitigations, safety protocols and the subject vehicle’s relevant operational design domain (ODD) and its attributes.
Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “The development of self-driving vehicles in the UK has the potential to revolutionise travel, making every day journeys safer, easier and greener. That's why it’s great to see the BSI bringing together industry to develop their latest Publicly Available Specification on the use of safety operators in testing and trialling of self-driving vehicles. This specification reflects industry's focus on safety and building public confidence in these technologies.”
Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors at BSI said: “Our new research has found that the successful deployment of automated vehicles in the UK depends on the public’s confidence in their own safety. It shows that safety operators have a critical role in both automated vehicle trials and development testing, as well as the promotion of greater trust in the new technologies. The newly published guidance covers training and supervision of safety operators and demonstrates that the UK is putting safety first while this technology develops on the road to fully automated vehicles”.
The CAV Standards Programme has been developed in conjunction with the UK’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered in conjunction with stakeholders from the Department for Transport and Innovation UK. The new publication is authored by a technical team led by TRL and was developed with a steering group2 of technical experts representing organizations in the UK CAV eco-system, including automated vehicle developers and manufactures, testbeds, training providers and road authorities. The standard is applicable to both trials and developmental testing, including trials of prototype vehicles, passenger and freight carrying services on both public and private roads or land, as bound by and proportionate to the relevant ODD.
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Notes to the editor:
1 A safety operator is a person who is trained and able to supervise the function of an automated vehicle and intervene at any time it is required. The use of a suitably licenced and trained safety operator is a widely-used means to manage risks within automated vehicle tests or trials on public or private roads or land. The safety operators are responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle, either from inside or in visual line of sight and is required to continuously supervise the subject vehicle during tests or trials.
2 Steering group
Altelium Ltd; Arrival Ltd; Burges Salmon LLP; CAT Driver Training Ltd; Co-opted Member; DG Cities Ltd; Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA); Firstgroup Plc; Fusion Processing Ltd; Horiba MIRA; JC Bamford Ltd; Metropolitan Police Service; Millbrook; Oxbotica Ltd; Oxford Bus Company; Oxfordshire County Council; Pinsent Masons; Stagecoach Group; StreetDrone Ltd; Thatcham; The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV); Transport for Greater Manchester; TRL; Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA); Wayve Technologies Ltd; and WMG, University of Warwick.