Self-driving cars could ‘revolutionise’ travel in the UK as new safety guidance unveiled

Driverless cars: Oxbotica trials autonomous tech in London

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New research has shown that 70 percent of drivers surveyed see benefits in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). Nearly three fifths 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.

The data from the British Standards Institution (BSI) also found that 40 percent of drivers said the onboard safety operator would make them feel more confident as a pedestrian.

The BSI has also launched its latest CAV Standards Programme, which is designed 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.

This is being done to help manage safety risks and supervise the operation of the vehicles as technology advances.

The new standard 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 praised the safety guidance, saying it would have a great impact on the UK.

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She said: “The development of self-driving vehicles in the UK has the potential to revolutionise travel, making everyday journeys safer, easier and greener.

“That’s why it’s great to see the BSI leading the way with their latest safety standard on the use of safety operators in testing and trialling, helping to build public confidence and ensure safety is absolutely paramount during trials across the country.”

The drivers surveyed see positives in the guidance including safety gains as the top benefit.

This includes the potential for reduction in driver error and accidents.

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