The UK’s reputation for being one of the world leaders in the safe testing and roll-out of self-driving vehicles has been further enhanced today with the Minister of State for the Future of Transport, George Freeman, announcing that a new safety regime, called CAV PASS, is being pioneered in the UK.
The project is being developed to ensure self-driving vehicles are safe and secure by design and minimise any defects ahead of their testing, sale and wider deployment on UK roads.
The minister today also officially opened the Autonomous Village, a self-driving vehicle test facility at Millbrook-Culham with 70km of secure test tracks, a private mobile network and a simulator suite.
This will be part of a network of self-driving vehicle test facilities across the country, co-ordinated by UK automated vehicle company Zenzic. The new ground will allow developers to safely challenge systems and collect data, to help fine-tune software, sensors, 5G telecommunications and cyber security systems.
Speaking at the Cenex-Low Carbon Vehicle conference, George Freeman said: "Self-driving vehicles can offer significant rewards for the UK’s economy, road safety and accessibility. We are determined to lead in the testing and development of safe autonomous transport.
"This is new terrain, and with our national expertise the UK is well-placed to blaze the trail globally by developing a global benchmark for assuring the safety and security of this exciting technology."
Director of campaigns for road safety charity Brake, Joshua Harris said: "Connected and autonomous vehicles have enormous potential to eliminate driver error and help put an end to the daily tragedy of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
"The technology and its potential is hugely exciting but it’s critical that these vehicles are robustly tested for safety before allowing them on our roads.
"We support the leading role being played by UK government on this important agenda for safe mobility and the safety assurance regime will undoubtedly be fundamental to its future success."
The new safety assurance system will first focus on enabling the advanced trialling of self-driving vehicles, and aims to eventually help assure the safety and security of these vehicles for their mainstream sale and use.
Such advanced trials may include those without a human operator in the loop at all times, or the assessment of novel vehicle types such as pods and shuttles.
This work builds on the code of practice for automated vehicle trials first launched by the UK in 2015 and updated this year.
Image Source: Millbrook