Beyond vehicle safety: towards assuring the safety of the road transport system of the future

News | Posted on Wednesday 4 May 2022

AAIP report presents two new ontological models to support work to identify all of the risks associated with the introduction of autonomous vehicles

Front cover of the report: Public Road Transport System and Vehicle Models by Dr Roger Rivett

The introduction of highly automated and autonomous vehicles will bring numerous benefits, but we must be assured of their safety. To do this we must look beyond the safety of the vehicle alone and consider the vehicle and its interactions with its external environment.

This new report, authored by Programme Fellow Dr Roger Rivett, broadens the scope of considerations included in the discussion of risk associated with the use of increasingly autonomous vehicles on public roads.

“Automotive safety standards for the software-based systems used by driver assistance technologies are increasingly calling for the creation of assurance arguments. The scope of the argument required by the standards is limited to the particular development in hand,” said Dr Rivett. “It is our view that the scope needs to widen to include the whole vehicle and all its interactions.”

The report presents two models that reveal the different aspects of the Public Road Transport System (PRTS) that should be taken into account when considering how to assure the safety of the vehicle in its environment.

“The first model - the Static PRTS Model - is concerned with the road network, its associated furniture, users, and environmental factors,” continued Dr Rivett. “The second model - the Vehicle Movement Model - considers the movement of a vehicle through the road network. Together, these models enable us to understand how a vehicle interacts with its environment and what must be considered to ensure any risks are mitigated.”

The results of this work are used in a second report that proposes a set of claims, applicable to every vehicle, which acknowledge the fact that the vehicle is constructed using different technologies and includes many control units. This second report will be available later this year.

Read the report