Consumers, vehicle manufacturers and regulators all have a role to play in encouraging autonomous technologies, said Australasia’s top vehicle safety advocate this week.
ANCAP (The Australasian New Car Assessment Program) was giving evidence to a public hearing held as part of the Australian House of Representatives inquiry into the social implications of driverless cars.
ANCAP’s Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin, said that while the body’s primary focus had previously been on testing the physical crashworthiness of vehicles, it was now just as important to test the effectiveness of autonomous crash avoidance technologies.
“The reality of ‘driverless’ cars on our roads is some way off but autonomous technology is here and its increased roll-out will have a major impact in improving road safety,” said Goodwin.
“Almost ten years ago, ANCAP led the way in encouraging the fitment of electronic stability control by introducing it as a mandatory requirement for 5 stars, and this now extends to functions such as active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist.
“These Level 1 automated technologies are already in the marketplace and ANCAP is assessing and rating vehicles with these features which will form the ‘building blocks’ for highly autonomous, or potentially driverless vehicles in the future.
“ANCAP’s role is to build consumer, industry and regulator confidence in these technologies so we have a safer community – and we all have a role to play.
“We would urge consumers to demand autonomous technology; manufacturers to offer it; and regulators to support it.
“With more than 90 per cent of crashes involving human error, automation is a key element in reducing road trauma and the future of vehicle safety lies with these active and autonomous features,” added Goodwin.