Municipalities are ill-prepared to create regulations for self-driving vehicle testing on public roads, according the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium.
The AVSC said Nov. 12 that its first best practice as a consortium to address this and other concerns with self-driving vehicles includes guidelines on in-vehicle safety-test driver selection, training and oversight procedures. The best practice provides a structure for the qualifications and training of the humans that are on board and responsible for safety oversight during the testing of Level 4 and Level 5 automated driving systems, according to the AVSC.
The AVSC, an affiliate of SAE Industry Technologies Consortia, was formed in April to provide a safety framework around Level 4 and Level 5 AV testing.
General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp., along with Ford Motor Co., Uber ATG, Honda, Lyft, Daimler A.G. and SAE International, are all a part of the consortium. SAE International, Ford, GM and Toyota were the founding members, while Honda is the most recent member to join.
The auto makers and ride-share operators are collectively establishing a set of best practices to promote safe development and testing.
The in-vehicle fallback test-driver best practice offers test organizations and infrastructure owner-operators a baseline for test driving and pilot projects. This specifically includes driving evaluation, record checks, at least three years driving experience and other screenings to determine driver eligibility.
It also recommends a framework for basic driver training—such as controlled-environment training, interaction training and assessment of skills—along with self-driving vehicle knowledge.
The consortium recommends that an in-vehicle safety driver also receive automated driving system in-classroom instruction and participate in closed-course operation, supervised operation and the use of simulators.
The best practice ultimately provides a road map for AV testing companies to follow, including mandatory breaks for the test driver, driver state monitoring and post-trip briefings.
The consortium determined that it is challenging when an AV operator is testing in multiple municipalities, because of differing levels of adoption and acceptance of self-driving vehicles and different standards for testing.
"All current AV testing on public roads involves human oversight in some capacity, and the new (in-vehicle fallback test-driver) best practice applies to those safety drivers in the vehicle who are responsible for the safe oversight of the vehicle during testing of SAE Level 4 and 5 automated driving systems on public roads," according to the consortium's best practice.