Non-profit organisation Safe Kids Worldwide has convened a consortium of experts to focus on protecting children in autonomous vehicles, in response to the ‘transformational’ changes taking place within the automotive industry.
“By considering the unique needs of children early in the development of AVs, we have an historic opportunity to learn from the past”
The group of child and transportation safety experts will help to guide best practices, education, legislation and policies aimed at keeping children under 13 safe in autonomous vehicles (AVs).
Announcing the initiative, the non-profit noted that many children were killed or injured following the introduction of front seat airbags in the 1990s, at a time when drivers believed it was safe to have their children in the front seat.
“Safe Kids is committed to making sure the safety needs of children are considered as today’s new AV technology is developed,” said Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide.
“AVs are currently being piloted on roads in nearly three dozen communities, in 16 states nationwide. By considering the unique needs of children early in the development of AVs, we have an historic opportunity to learn from the past and keep our most vulnerable passengers safe when it comes to this emerging form of transportation.”
The Children in AVs Consortium will be an extension of a 2018 Blue Ribbon Panel of safety and transportation experts, organised by Safe Kids. The panel released a report last year recommending that the views of child safety experts are sought throughout the development and design phases of autonomous vehicles, to ensure the safety needs of under-13s are addressed.
The Consortium’s two working groups will begin the process of implementing the panel’s recommendations, helping to guide draft legislation, policy, enforcement and best practices for child occupants of autonomous vehicles.
“We are thrilled with the interest and enthusiasm we received for our effort to bring child passenger safety to the forefront of AV development,” said Creppy, who also chaired the Blue Ribbon Panel. “I’m extremely grateful to our top-notch experts who share our commitment to protecting kids while advancing the field.”