Dr Nicholas Bevan

Dr Nicholas Bevan

Monday, 4 February 2019

Answers to Consultation Questions 8 - 15

Law Commission Consultation on Automated Vehicles 

Consultation Question 8 (Paragraphs 4.102 - 4.104)

Do you agree that:
(1)               a new safety assurance scheme should be established to authorise automated driving systems which are installed: 
(a)  as modifications to registered vehicles; or
(b)  in vehicles manufactured in limited numbers (a "small series")? 
(2)               unauthorised automated driving systems should be prohibited?
(3)               the safety assurance agency should also have powers to make special vehicle orders for highly automated vehicles, so as to authorise design changes which would otherwise breach construction and use regulations?
Yes to all.

Consultation Question 9 (Paragraphs 4.107 - 4.109)
Do you agree that every automated driving system (ADS) should be backed by an entity (ADSE) which takes responsibility for the safety of the system? 

Consultation Question 10 (Paragraphs 4.112 - 4.117)
We seek views on how far should a new safety assurance system be based on accrediting the developers’ own systems, and how far should it involve third party testing.
No comment

Consultation Question 11 (Paragraphs 4.118 - 4.122)
We seek views on how the safety assurance scheme could best work with local agencies to ensure that is sensitive to local conditions.
No comment

CHAPTER 5: REGULATING SAFETY ON THE ROADS A new organisational structure?
Consultation Question 12 (Paragraphs 5.30 - 5.32)
If there is to be a new safety assurance scheme to authorise automated driving systems before they are allowed onto the roads, should the agency also have responsibilities for safety of these systems following deployment? 
If so, should the organisation have responsibilities for: 
(1)               regulating consumer and marketing materials? 
(2)               market surveillance?
(3)               roadworthiness tests?
We seek views on whether the agency’s responsibilities in these three areas should extend to advanced driver assistance systems.
Yes and much more (and this should be addressed as a matter of considerable urgency) given what is said at paragraph 3.12 of the LC report.  

I am awaiting a Freedom of Information Act request  on the number of Tesla Model S currently on our roads.  Some online sources indicate that this could be in excess of 2,000.  Tesla plans to launch its new mid range Model 3 into the UK market this year, presumably in greater numbers.See my concerns about the danger posed by driver assist technology in my response to Q7.

Driver training
Consultation Question 13 (Paragraphs 5.54 - 5.55)
Is there a need to provide drivers with additional training on advanced driver assistance systems? 
If so, can this be met on a voluntary basis, through incentives offered by insurers?
No.  Guidance should continue to be provided by the government within the Highway Code.  This is a responsibility that should be delegated to commercial interests.  The Highway Code needs to be updated to accommodate the skills and standards appropriate to this new technology.  Every driver skill, standard or theory that is safety critical should be incorporated within the driving test syllabus be subject to mandatory testing.  It may be necessary to issue new vehicle categories for the driving licence.

A failure to address this urgent need to educate, test and licence emerging levels of automation as well as advanced automation would not only be anomalous but it would compromise public safety.
Accident investigation
Consultation Question 14 (Paragraphs 5.58 - 5.71)
We seek views on how accidents involving driving automation should be investigated.  We seek views on whether an Accident Investigation Branch should investigate high profile accidents involving automated vehicles? Alternatively, should specialist expertise be provided to police forces.
This is not my field of expertise but my experience of local police forces is that their standard of investigation is variable. 
A national government agency should be incepted, possibly along similar lines tothe Air Accidents Investigation Branch.  A single authoritative national agency would be best placed to apply a consistent approach to the same standard.  A national body is needed to develop a strategic view as well as a specialist knowledge in ADS, motor engineering, data recording and collection et cetera. This might be a suitable role for a dedicated sub-division of the proposed Safety Assurance Agency. 
It might be sensible to restrict the agency's involvement to serious accidents involving an injury where a police report has confirmed that an automated vehicle was present at the scene of the accident. It would probably be necessary to impose a strict time limit to ensure prompt notification, if the accident data is to be preserved.

Setting and monitoring a safety standard
Consultation Question 15 (Paragraphs 5.78 - 5.85)
(1)               Do you agree that the new safety agency should monitor the accident rate of highly automated vehicles which drive themselves, compared with human drivers?
(2)               We seek views on whether there is also a need to monitor the accident rates of advanced driver assistance systems.
Yes to both (1) and (2).

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