Karin Fest, 06.03.17 16:42
Anna Nilsson-Ehle

An interview with Anna Nilsson-Ehle, director of SAFER – Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre at Chalmers, speaker at the conference Automated Driving: Road Safety & the Human Factor

1 ACCEPTANCE Transparent information and public debate will create awareness of connected and automated vehicles and supposingly decrease scepticism towards new technologies. In your opinion, what are the critical risks of dealing with connected and automated vehicles in connection with public awareness?

Nilsson-Ehle: It is surely important to create awareness with the users of the transport system and to pick up their expectations, worries and needs. This must be done in a meticulous and respectful way to open up for a good and non-prestigious dialogue. It is important to make the functionality of the system visual and realistic – in real life situations - without taking safety risks or making it too simplistic.

2 TEST REGIONS Solid testing is necessary to reduce threats to all road users from the use of automated cars. What do you think, which aspects need to be considered to guarantee a safe testing of automated vehicles for all road users?

Nilsson-Ehle: Testing in public is important to adress issues regarding how the automated cars are percieved, used and interacted with. Before an automated vehicle can be introduced to testing in public it has to be safe and reliable from a technical point of view. This has to be ensured in traditional ways by simulation, component testing and full-scale testing in restricted areas. Test vehicles in public tests should have redundant systems (manual back-up, surveillance etc) to handle unintended or unforeseen misuse.

3 INTERACTION WITH VULNERABLE ROAD USERS In your opinion, which aspects ensure a flawless interaction between humans and connected and automated vehicles and what represents in this regard the main challenge of the coming years?

Nilsson-Ehle: A well functioning connected and automated vehicle is more reliable than a manual driven, non-connected vehicle and thus surrounding road users should not be required to act in any particular way. The main challenge is to correctly detect and interpret intent of vulnerable road users in traffic. The most vulnerable might be the non-connected, digitally non-visible, actor.

4 TRAINING & LICENSING Special training could support drivers to deal with connected and automated vehicles. Do you think there should be provided special trainings? And if, do you have any idea of what such trainings could consist of?

Nilsson-Ehle: I don´t think the system should require any special training for drivers or road users. That would imply that the system can cause harm to non-educated. However, to utilize a connected and automated vehicle at the best of its performance professional driver (bus,truck, taxi etc) might find special training useful.

5 LEGAL & ETHICAL ASPECTS Various legal as well as ethical issues are linked to the establishment and enforcement of road safety concerning connected and automated vehicles. What are the main challenges in this regard?

The responisbility issues on different system levels (the driver, the manufacturer, the municipality, the road authority, the IT-provider etc) but also personal integrity.

Zur AutorIn

Karin Fest ist als Innovationsmanagerin beim Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit im Bereich smart safety solutions für die Umsetzung digitaler Mobilitätslösungen zur Erhöhung der Verkehrssicherheit zuständig. Sie studierte Medien- und Kulturwissenschaften und schließt derzeit ein berufsbegleitendes Studium zu Entrepreneurship & Innovationsmanagement ab. Davor war sie als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin sowie als Projektmanagerin tätig und forschte und lehrte zu Themen rund um Medientechniken, urbanen Praktiken und Medienvermittlung.

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