Zenzic, the UK autonomous vehicle accelerator, has put together new safety guidance to create a framework for testing driverless vehicles on public roads.
The 2021 Safety Case Framework: The Guidance Edition is the third edition and provides guidance that creates a common safety checklist or language for both technology creators and safety reviewers.
The guidance covers connected and automated mobility (CAM) testing scenarios from small scale testing at private testing facilities through to trialling on public roads with a remote safety operator.
It builds upon the 2019 release of The Code of Practice for Automated Vehicle Trialling by the Department for Transport and the BSI PAS 1881 standard. This also enables safety reviewers to undertake safety checks and ensure any trials meet agreed upon stringent regulations.
Trialling on public roads
Self-driving vehicles will also have to adhere to core parts of the Highway Code which relate to hazardous scenarios and sharing road space with vulnerable road users.
Specifically, technology providers will need to demonstrate to a third party how they safely interact with vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, as well as with HGVs, emergency services and buses or coaches.
These requirements form but a small part of the framework, which is the first time such a wide range of safety standards, requirements and guidance have been brought together into a single document.
Mark Cracknell, Zenzic head of technology, said: “Safety is our highest aim at Zenzic, and this guidance makes it much easier for the self-driving industry to ensure any trials taking place have been thoroughly checked.
“To date, there has not been a commonly accepted safety guidance for CAM Testbed UK testing facilities across the country, which meant that moving between testing facilities, or moving from a private test track to testing on public roads required technology creators to apply a new safety methodology each time.”
Cracknell said that to make sure self-driving vehicles are as safe as possible the safety guidance has to be “extremely wide ranging”.
He added: “While the trial operators have a lot of safety rules to follow, the vehicles themselves must follow, at a minimum, the very same straight forward rules that all other road users must follow to be allowed to test on public roads, the Highway Code.”