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Consumers still concerned about autonomous vehicle safety: Can a decision-making model help?

The IEEE has approved a proposal to develop a new standard while a separate survey by Deloitte reveals that consumers still have safety concerns about fully autonomous vehicles.

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 Standard will establish a formal rules-based mathematical model for decision-making
Standard will establish a formal rules-based mathematical model for decision-making

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has backed a proposal to develop a standard for safety considerations in automated vehicle (AV) decision-making.

 

The announcement comes as a separate survey from Deloitte reveals that nearly half of US consumers (48 per cent) believe that fully autonomous cars will be unsafe.

 

AV industry

 

IEEE has also announced a new workgroup open to companies across the AV industry, and hopes for broad industry representation.

 

Jack Weast, senior principal engineer at Intel, will lead the workgroup. Group members will hold their first meeting in 2020’s first quarter.

 

Two IEEE committees co-sponsored the proposal: the IEEE Computer Society and the Vehicle Technology Society.

 

According to IEEE, industry and regulators are struggling to agree on a method for evaluating the safety of AVs, although most people agree that standards are needed to establish regulatory thresholds for granting AVs their driver’s licences.

 

“Redundancy and diversity are crucial to developing scalable frameworks for safe automated driving.”

 

Multiple approaches are in development even though industry consensus is lacking. Meanwhile, technology development is not standing still and is nearly ready. This puts pressure on regulators to create rules for operating AVs worldwide.

 

“This standardisation project will provide an important basis for the development of open, formal models in automated vehicle decision-making,” said Riccardo Mariani, vice president of standards activities at IEEE Computer Society.

 

“Redundancy and diversity are crucial to developing scalable frameworks for safe automated driving.”

 

The new standard (IEEE 2846) aims to establish a formal rules-based mathematical model for automated vehicle decision-making that will be formally verifiable, technology-neutral and adjustable to allow for regional customisation by local governments.

 

It will also include a test methodology and tools necessary to perform verification of an AV to assess conformance with the standard.

 

Intel said it will bring its responsibility-sensitive safety (RSS) framework as a starting point for the industry to align on what it means for an AV to drive safely.

 

RSS defines what it means for a machine to drive safely with a set of logically provable rules and prescribed proper responses to dangerous situations. It aims to formalise human notions of safe driving in mathematical formulas that are transparent and verifiable.

 

Safety of self-driving vehicles

 

According to Deloitte’s global automotive consumer study, Examining Auto’s Future, consumer perception regarding the safety of self-driving vehicles remains stalled since last year in most countries.

 

This apprehension extends to commercial vehicles, as well. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of consumers noted they were concerned about commercial vehicles operating in autonomous mode on the highway.

 

Across most global markets covered in this year’s study, just under half of respondents in several countries believed that AV technology will not be safe.

 

Nearly half of US consumers (48 per cent) believe that fully autonomous cars will be unsafe.

 

In India and China, the percentage of people that think autonomous vehicles will not be safe has increased to 58 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.

 

The study notes this trend goes hand in hand with consumers’ views on testing autonomous vehicles, with three-fifths of consumers in India (57 per cent) and the US (51 per cent) concerned by the idea of autonomous vehicles being tested in areas where they live.

 

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