Better than ‘Average’: Potential Crash Rate Standards for Automated Vehicles

Author:Goodall, NoahVirginia Transportation Research Council ORCID icon

Most automobile manufacturers and several technology companies are testing automated vehicles on public roads. While automation of the driving task is expected to reduce crashes, there is no consensus regarding how safe an automated vehicle must be before it can be deployed. An automated vehicle should be at least as safe as the average driver, but national crash rates include drunk and distracted driving, meaning that an automated vehicle that crashes at the average rate is somewhere between drunk and sober. In this paper, automated vehicle safety standards are explored from three perspectives. First, crash rates from naturalistic driving studies are used to determine the crash risk of the model (i.e. sober, rested, attentive, cautious) driver. Second, stated preference surveys in the literature are reviewed to estimate the public’s acceptable automated vehicle risk. Third, crash, injury, and fatality rates from other transportation modes are compared as baseline safety levels. A range of potential safety standards is presented as a guide for policymakers, regulators, and automated vehicle developers to assist in validating the safety of automated driving technologies for public use.

Source Citation:

100th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board

Transportation Research Board
Published Date:
January 2021
Sponsoring Agency:
Virginia Department of Transportation