Safely towards tomorrow’s traffic

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

by: Sacha Oerlemans

There are more and more systems on the market to support the motorist in their vehicle. Step by step the automation of our vehicles increases, the traffic system is in a transition towards self-driving vehicles. The automation offers opportunities to make our traffic safer, cleaner and more efficient. However, new risks are emerging, particularly in the transition period.

This report (by SWOV) describes which developments can be expected during the automation of the traffic system. The report also discusses the implications of these developments for road safety: the opportunities and the risks.

The report concludes with the presentation of a research agenda in which the topics are clustered into three groups:

  1. Interaction of the driver with the new technology in the vehicle.
    1. This concerns, among others (changes in) task load, switching between automated and manual driving ('transition of control'), situational awareness and hazard perception during (the transition to) automated driving, and the interaction of elderly drivers with the new technology.
  2. Interaction of (partly) automated vehicles with other traffic.
    1. This concerns, among others, mixed traffic, the interaction with other road users, and specifically also the interaction with vulnerable road users.
  3. Smart infrastructure and safety effects on the traffic system.
    1. This concerns, among others, the safety effects on the network level in the situation of traffic with various road users at different levels of automation ('mixed traffic'), intelligent infrastructure and vehicle communication (V2X), and ‘roads that cars can read’.

SWOV aims to make a substantial and identifiable contribution to the improvement of road safety during the transition to higher levels of automation through research on these topics.

Other important new risks that are not within SWOV’s specific expertise, but also of interest for the safety in the transition to higher levels of automation are: system errors, cyber security, protection of data and privacy, ethical issues, legislation and legal liability.