self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - _ORB_

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/oct/23/uk-insurer...s

Plans for cars to drive themselves on UK motorways as soon as 2021 are unlikely to go ahead after insurers warned government proposals were risking lives and “hugely wrong”.

Cars with the technology to keep in lane, accelerate and brake automatically will be on the road next year, and ministers had proposed that drivers could relinquish control to their vehicles at speeds of up to 70mph on motorways.

However, the Association of British Insurers and the independent Thatcham Research institute have warned the use of automated lane keeping systems (ALKS) would be a severe threat to road safety if the systems were legally classed as “automated”, meaning drivers could take their hands off the steering wheel.

While insurers and Thatcham support the introduction of more automation – and believe fully automated cars would be safer than human drivers – they said the current technology was a “quantum leap” away from what was needed.

The automated system would potentially need to return control to a human driver within three seconds to avert high-speed collisions – but insurers’ research found it takes 15 seconds for the driver to be sufficiently engaged to react to avoid a hazard, roughly 500 metres distance on a motorway.

Cars with ALKS as currently configured will not be able to change lanes, nor react to the red X signal on a smart motorway gantry indicating that a lane is closed ahead. Thatcham also believes they could fail to detect debris or even people on the road in an emergency situation.

Thatcham and the ABI are preparing a joint submission outlining their safety concerns to the government. A consultation on proposals closes next week, ahead of potential changes to motoring legislation in the spring.

Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s director of research, said that while insurers were happy for ALKS to be classified as assisted driving – where the car’s input is always ultimately controlled by a human driver – there were “huge legal and liability problems” as well as safety issues with a system where the driver would relinquish control.

Avery said: “They haven’t thought it through and they’ve got it hugely wrong. From the technology point of view, it’s a small step, but from a philosophical point of view it’s a major step. What we’re missing is how consumers will react and use it.

“The idea of automation is something that insurers wholeheartedly support. But you can’t have steps towards automation – either the car is driving or it isn’t. We can’t have drivers sitting there watching Netflix, supposedly ready to take over.”

He added: “The government’s proposed timeline for the introduction of automated technology must be revised. It simply isn’t safe enough and its introduction will put UK motorists’ lives at risk.”

Ministers have been keen to promote the UK as a world-leading country for the development of autonomous vehicles, taking steps to revamp legislation to allow early adoption of driverless cars.

However, the safety of British motorways has been under particular scrutiny since the introduction of smart motorways, which allow for more traffic by removing the hard shoulder and closing lanes through signals when required. Thatcham said there were 70 accidents in 2019 caused by cars driving along a closed lane, and that cars with ALKS would either miss the signals or simply stop and cause an additional hazard.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - daveyjp

I'm not surprised insurers are nervous.

My wife's boss picked up his new S class last week and he had his first motorway trip yesterday,

The all singing all dancing systems really couldn't cope with roadworks where orange studs marked the lane edge and not the usual white lines, they were the wrong side of the cones and the S class really wanted to steer the car towards them.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - gordonbennet

Who do you hold responsible when the system fails to do as promised, or worse still does things such as braking hard when not needed possibly causing an accident.

For the answer to this question RTFM, under the relevant sections you will find weasel words informing the driver they are ultimately responsible for vehicle control, luckily ehicles equipped with this technoology also record everything the vehicles does (and what input the driver has), so assuming the downloads are made available correct blame can be attributed, assuming the maker is happy or compelled to show proof which might indicate their system caused the incident.

Until all vehicle information after an accident is made available for interested parties i don't blame insurers for not wanting to know.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - bolt

Who do you hold responsible when the system fails to do as promised, or worse still does things such as braking hard when not needed possibly causing an accident.

For the answer to this question RTFM, under the relevant sections you will find weasel words informing the driver they are ultimately responsible for vehicle control, luckily ehicles equipped with this technoology also record everything the vehicles does (and what input the driver has), so assuming the downloads are made available correct blame can be attributed, assuming the maker is happy or compelled to show proof which might indicate their system caused the incident.

Until all vehicle information after an accident is made available for interested parties i don't blame insurers for not wanting to know.

And with the amount of information there is for these systems to compute it could be a long time for someone to assess what happened, iirc google reckon it will be another 10 years before anywhere near perfection, rather a lot of info to program/assess and compute even with the latest machines

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - gordonbennet

And with the amount of information there is for these systems to compute it could be a long time for someone to assess what happened, iirc google reckon it will be another 10 years before anywhere near perfection, rather a lot of info to program/assess and compute even with the latest machines

My work vehicle is now almost two years old.

I had reason to pop into the workshops this week, to help with diagnosing an issue they took a full download, which took probably 20 minutes and printed off reams of relevant pages, one particular episode last week (i wasn't driving) would have been a finger pointer of blame had an incident or severe mechanical damage happened, there it all was down to the split second what when and where and who did what and what the vehicle did in response.

One can only imagine how much info the next generation will provide.

I can only agree with MT that expecting someone just sitting there whilst a car drives itself to instantly react correctly to save the day when error 404 appears is wishful thinking, we are decades away from autonomous driving even on so called smart motorways.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - Engineer Andy

I think these systems will lead to people getting complacent and will cause accidents if adopted on a much larger scale.

For any such system to work, all cars have to be fully automated and linked to central control systems, a-la certain futuristic movies. That ain't gonna happen for a LONG time.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - Andrew-T

<< While insurers and Thatcham support the introduction of more automation – and believe fully automated cars would be safer than human drivers – they said the current technology was a “quantum leap” away from what was needed. >>

If this was technically true no-one need worry for a moment, as a quantum leap is the tiniest jump possible at a molecular level. Unfortunately some time ago someone thought it made a trendy vogue-phrase, and it now means the exact opposite. Such is life.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - misar

<< While insurers and Thatcham support the introduction of more automation – and believe fully automated cars would be safer than human drivers – they said the current technology was a “quantum leap” away from what was needed. >>

If this was technically true no-one need worry for a moment, as a quantum leap is the tiniest jump possible at a molecular level. Unfortunately some time ago someone thought it made a trendy vogue-phrase, and it now means the exact opposite. Such is life.

In fact a quantum jump or leap is a change in a system (e.g. an atom or molecule) from one quantum state to another. Hence the term is correctly used to represent a change in technology from one paradigm to another, such as from cars must have human drivers to cars can operate without human intervention.

Edited by misar on 23/10/2020 at 19:55

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - Manatee

The automated system would potentially need to return control to a human driver within three seconds to avert high-speed collisions – but insurers’ research found it takes 15 seconds for the driver to be sufficiently engaged to react to avoid a hazard, roughly 500 metres distance on a motorway.

I'm not an expert at all nor especially perspicacious in general but two things have been obvious to me since the topic of self-driving cars got going.

- autonomy in the short term can only work in a completely standardised environment which does not exist and is unlikely to for a long time

- the 'solution', based on an assumption that self-driving can work well enough such that a standby human can take control when it makes a mistake or says it can't cope is utterly unworkable at anything like normal motoring speeds. Humans can't sustain full attention for very long when they are not performing the task, and whatever anybody thinks nobody can truly multi-task - they can only time-slice their full attention.

I know how long it takes to get my wife's attention when she is absorbed in the crossword, and vice versa. She or I would have crashed well before the second alert. Even when the 'attendant's' attention has been obtained, in can be some time before they have understood the situation - if they ever do.

Examples involving transport are not hard to find. The fatal self-driving Uber accident, a number of aircraft incidents including AF447. SPADS on the railways are so frequent that TPWS is necessary - fortunately trains usually stay on their tracks and stopping them even after the signal is usually enough to prevent a collision. When TPWS was introduced it was understood that the limits of human performance in the constant monitoring of signals had been reached.

There is a world of difference, a massive gulf, between a human minding an automated system and an automated system that helps the human driver.

I suspect the insurers are also glad to have a proxy for another major concern, liability. Liability generally arises from negligence. If a driver who fails to stop a self-driving car from crashing is shown simply to be human, rather than actually negligent, then who is to blame?

I think it's unworkable even when the car 'knows' it can't cope and makes the warning announcement, but in some cases it won't even do that - like the S-class that wants to drive through cones.

I think this will be a short-lived experiment, if it happens at all. The fact (and it is a fact) that full autonomy will become possible at some point does not mean that it is imminent. The delivery robots in Milton Keynes are nearer to where the technology really is in practical terms.

Edited by Manatee on 23/10/2020 at 10:01

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - Ethan Edwards

My Suzuki Swift has lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control . So about 90% of this auto drive. Its enough. There is no need for any more automation imo. It warns you but your still in control. Thats how it should be.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - 72 dudes

Agree with all of the above.

I've seen enough US dashcam clips of Teslas trying to kill their stupid occupants to see that this technology is not yet ready for UK conditions or indeed UK drivers.

Edited by 72 dudes on 23/10/2020 at 10:52

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - Gibbo_Wirral

Agree with all of the above.

I've seen enough US dashcam clips of Teslas trying to kill their stupid occupants to see that this technology is not yet ready for UK conditions or indeed UK drivers.

Not just Tesla.

Uber's self-driving operator charged over fatal crash

www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-54175359

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - sammy1

My Suzuki Swift has lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control . So about 90% of this auto drive. Its enough. There is no need for any more automation imo. It warns you but your still in control. Thats how it should be.

You are either driving a car or NOT. To be fully alert as the driver you should not need lane departure. The natural flow of the roads means that YOU place your car as required, the white lines are only there as a guide. As for adaptive cruise how many times as this got things wrong and braked hard when totally unnecessary. Why have humans got so lazy that they think all these things thrown at them are an improvement on want went before and the motorist is paying heavily in £notes for them. The S class story above is a prime example only serving to frustrate the owner of a very expensive car.

As to Thatcham and the insurance companies warning of automation about time. Somewhere in the above is a reference to the automated car keeping a full record of the journey so as to be able to apportion BLAME should anything go wrong, too bl--dy late when some innocent person as been killed..

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - Terry W

I can only agree that to expect a human to be "on standby" in case an automated system fails is not going to work.

As the "automated" system becomes ever more capable the human will have less need to intervene, making it even less likely that a needed intervention will be effective.

But I think a tipping point will be reached far quicker than most imagine:

  1. Technology is rapidly advancing. What was high end or difficult is now commonplace. The rate of improvement shows no sign of slowing.
  2. Liability is generally clear. The operator is liable for using and maintaining kit in line with specifications. The manufacturer is liable for defective equipment. There may be a bun fight over how this is legislated, but I do not think it a show stopper.
  3. Automated systems do not need to be 100% reliable - they merely need be better than often defective humans.
  4. Vehicles will record data as aircraft - a "black box" which clearly identifies what happened. Normally causes will be quickly identified. Even if complex, it will not need the often skewed recollections of a human under stress.

If the UK is unwilling to be a testing ground for new technology, it will arrive here a few years after adoption in other couuntries where the main bugs will have been eleminated.

My personal guess would be around 5 years for certain roads (eg motorways). In 15 years vehicles which are not so equipped will be marginallised - just as city centres are today limiting access to higher polluters.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - madf

You have all ignored one KEY Issue..

For self driving cars to be safe, this means they must work exactly as designed.

Any deviations are likely to make the car unsafe..

So think about maintenance. It will have to be made compulsory to have a car checked - each year? - to make sure it works.. Not a simple MOT but a full systems check. (and think of all the different systems on the market)

If a driver drives one that is faulty, any accidents will be the driver's fault if he/she knew the car was faulty.. but drove it.

And so on..

The implications are huge.

Not one person has mentioned this issue as far as I know - so no-one has any plans for it.

Edited by madf on 23/10/2020 at 12:29

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - bolt

If a driver drives one that is faulty, any accidents will be the driver's fault if he/she knew the car was faulty.. but drove it.

Unlikely a person is going to know there is a fault as it will be a software glitche rather than a hardware fault, I very much doubt hardware will be a problem on a car...

Only other problem I can see occurring is the system being hacked which will be a bigger problem! imo.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - Manatee

>>You have all ignored one KEY Issue.

The system will be checked every time it is turned on, Shirley? Just like your ABS.

In any case as has been pointed out, if the result is lower KSI (the most obvious measure) than with human pilots then the odd failure is not going to stop it.

Where I don't agree with Terry W is on the likely timescale for true autonomy and on liability.

It's been easy to get to 90% autonomous. The last 1% will take longer than everything that has been achieved so far. The last 0.1% might never be solved for and that might be OK.

Potentially the Highways authority, the manufacturer, third parties, could all be liable in the absence of a definition of strict liability. The occupant, if the vehicle is truly autonomous, should logically be presumed innocent! Especially if he can convince a court that the bit in the manual that suggests he can wake from his reverie and deal with a 'situation' in a second or two in which the car is travelling at 70mph is unreasonable.

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - _ORB_

In How many seconds were the pilots of the 737 max jets supposed to have been able to regain control of the plane?

FOUR seconds.

In designing the flight controls for the 737 MAX, Boeing assumed that pilots trained on existing safety procedures should be able to sift through the jumble of contradictory warnings and take the proper action 100% of the time within four seconds.

Edited by _ORB_ on 23/10/2020 at 15:02

self-driving cars on motorways - Insurers don't like - galileo

In How many seconds were the pilots of the 737 max jets supposed to have been able to regain control of the plane?

FOUR seconds.

In designing the flight controls for the 737 MAX, Boeing assumed that pilots trained on existing safety procedures should be able to sift through the jumble of contradictory warnings and take the proper action 100% of the time within four seconds.

That worked out well, didn't it?

 

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