Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Automated and Autonomous Driving

Regulation under uncertainty
Automated and Autonomous Driving cover image

Many cars sold today are already capable of some level of automated operation, and prototype cars capable of driving autonomously have been and continue to be tested on public roads in Europe, Japan and the United States. These technologies have arrived rapidly on the market and their future deployment is expected to accelerate. Autonomous driving promises many benefits: improved safety, reduced congestion and lower stress for car occupants, among others.

But authorities will have to adapt existing rules and create new ones in order to ensure the full compatibility of these vehicles with the public’s expectations regarding safety, legal responsibility and privacy. This report explores the strategic issues that will have to be considered by authorities as more fully automated, and ultimately autonomous, vehicles arrive on our streets and roads. The report was drafted on the basis of expert input and discussions amongst project partners in addition to a review of relevant published research and position papers. 

The work for this report was carried out in the context of a project initiated and funded by the International Transport Forum’s Corporate Partnership Board (CPB). CPB projects are designed to enrich policy discussion with a business perspective. Led by the ITF, work is carried out in a collaborative fashion in working groups consisting of CPB member companies, external experts and ITF researchers. 

Policy Insights

  • Automated driving comprises a diverse set of emerging concepts that must be understood individually and as part of broader trends toward automation and connectivity
  • Uncertainty on market deployment strategies and pathways to automation complicates the regulatory task
  • Incrementally shifting the driving task from humans to machines will require changes in insurance
  • The shift from human to machine may have an impact on what product information developers and manufacturers of autonomous vehicles share, and with whom
  • Regulators and developers should actively plan to minimise legacy risks

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