Articles Tagged ‘Transport Research Laboratory - Brake the road safety charity’

Autonomous and Connected Vehicles

This fact sheet provides a snapshot of developments towards full autonomy and a brief introduction to the concepts of autonomy and connected vehicles and also assisted driving. 

Snapshot of developments in Britain and worldwide

  • As early as the 1950’s and 1960’s the UK's Transport Research Laboratory (now called TRL) was operating ‘self-driving’ cars on its test track.[i]
  • 2010: Google made its first announcement about its driverless car programme.[ii]
  • 2011: Fully-automated (driverless) ‘pods’ start to be used at Heathrow’s terminal five, on a designated track. Round about the same time, trials of the Google Car started[iii].
  • February 2015: Britain’s Department for Transport produces its regulatory review of conditions for testing automated vehicles in the UK for creating a ‘pathway’ for driverless vehicles. The commits to “amending national and international legislation to facilitate production and marketing of highly and fully automated vehicles. It is envisaged that national legislation can be amended by 2017 and there should be an aim to finalise amendments to international regulations by the end of 2018.” [iv]
  • February 2015: The start of ‘Driverless Vehicle Trials’ in Greenwich[v], Bristol[vi], Milton Keynes and Coventry[vii], involving teams of engineers testing electric, fully-automated pods potentially for use in cities.
  • July 2015: The Department for Transport launches its “code of practice” for automated vehicle technology testing[viii]. The government also set up the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (C-CAV).
    2015: Tesla positions itself as a company that builds vehicles from the ground up that are electric but also have "the hardware needed for self-driving capability." Customers are warned to be attentive at all times. [xxv]
  • January 2016: The European Union’s Platform for the Deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems published its final report in January 2016, saying “a coordinated action for the deployment of C-ITS in the EU is paramount: a unique legal and technical framework is essential and coordinated efforts to ensure quick uptake of C-ITS are requested.”[ix]
  • February 2016: The first funds out of the government’s dedicated £100m ‘intelligent mobility research’ fund are assigned to eight projects across the UK[x], including a project equipping a small length of Britain’s roads to be ready to test automated vehicles[xi] and a project aiming to accelerate the ‘development, market readiness and deployment’ of automated driving systems[xii].
  • March 2016: In the government’s budget, it is announced that automated vehicles will be trialled on British motorways by the end of 2017[xiii]. This is expected to include trials of several trucks travelling in platoons (connected to the lead truck using wireless technology).
  • April 2016: Highways England announces, in its Innovation, Technology and Research strategy, that its £150m innovation fund will include trials of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies and development of infrastructure standards on the strategic road network (motorways and A roads) to “futureproof” the network for these technologies[xiv].
  • April 2016: Six manufacturers of trucks take part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge[xv] showcasing platooning of large trucks on public roads heading for the Netherlands.
  • May 2016: Emphasising the importance of driver attention alongside ADAS systems, Joshua Brown dies in his Tesla when it collides with a truck crossing the carriageway while Tesla's adaptive cruise control system called Autopilot was engaged. Tesla said: "Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky so the brake was not applied." 
  • October 2016: Tesla announces that all vehicles produced in its factory are now fitted with the "hardware needed for full self-driving capability."
  • Trials of automated vehicles and connected vehicle technology, generally funded by governments, concurrently take place in other countries around the world, including USA, Sweden, Germany, Japan, and Singapore.

Understanding autonomous and connected vehicles

What do the terms mean, and what technology do they use? 
A definition of a fully-automated vehicle is given in the international standard produced by the engineer organisation SAE International.[xvi] This standard defines a fully-automated vehicle as one that not only can be driven entirely without a driver, but can be also be driven in "all roadway and environmental conditions". 

Sensor technology such as cameras, radar and laser technology (LIDAR) has driven many developments in autonomy.  Communication technology is now also highly relevant in the development of vehicle autonomy and connected transport. The term “connected” means information can be passed wirelessly from vehicle to vehicle (V2V), and/or vehicle to infrastructure (V2I)). The collective term is vehicle to everything (V2X). This means, for example, that a vehicle can ‘know’ another vehicle is approaching over the brow of a hill, even though it can’t ‘see’ it, and can ‘know’ there are roadworks around the corner.  This technology has the advantage of being able to perceive things that are further away than sensor technology, and potentially be cheaper to fit to vehicles than sensor technology[xvii]. However, it requires a coordinated approach to enable all vehicles and infrastructures to communicate compatibly.

Is the UK supportive of automated, connected vehicles? 
In Britain, the government is supportive of the development of automated and connected vehicles and is funding and allowing testing; progressively in our cities, on motorways and other roads. The government is also committed to amending legislation to enable production and sale of automated vehicles. In its Action Plan[xxi] for creating a ‘pathway’ for driverless vehicles, the Department for Transport commits to “amending national and international legislation to facilitate the production and marketing of highly and fully automated vehicles. It is envisaged that national legislation can be amended by 2017 and there should be an aim to finalise amendments to international regulations by the end of 2018.” [xxii] The government has run a public consultation on automation in 2016.

Research-led tests and trials
Driverless vehicles have been tested, trialled and showcased in several countries with much publicity, but are not in public use. This includes UK government-funded trials of automated electric pods (for example in the GATEway[xviii] project in London, led by research agency TRL). It also includes connected trucks that can travel in platoons (close convoy) using V2V technology: platooning has been the subject of European research[xix] and been demonstrated on roads in Europe in 2016 and will be trialled on UK roads in 2017. [xx] 

These trials are generally government funded and aim to test out the technology but also the practicality of introducing it on roads, including public reaction. For example, the GATEway project in London was set up with an outcome of advising industry and policy-makers on understanding the implications of autonomous vehicles and how to deliver a safe testing environment in the UK." Its objectives were to: demonstrate a safe and efficient integration of a sophisticated autonomous transport system into a complex and real environment; generate valuable, exploitable knowledge of the systems required to host and test autonomous vehicles; understand technical, cultural, societal and legal challenges and barriers; create a valid test bed in the heart of London; inspire industry and public involvement and place the UK at the forefront of the global autonomous vehicle market.

What vehicle manufacturers are doing
Many leading vehicle manufacturers make confident statements about their ability to provide the technology for full automation. “Today's discussion no longer revolves around whether the technology will deliver on its promise but whether people want what the technology can deliver and whether society and legislators are ready for this "revolution in automobility.” (Mercedes-Benz[xxiii])

The electric car manufacturer Tesla is designing its cars with a driverless future in mind and providing users with updates of software that they can download themselves, while also warning that this doesn't negate the need for driver attention.

More traditional, long-established vehicle manufacturers are progressively adding Advanced Driver Assistance Systems to their vehicles, that use sensor technology and can respond on behalf of the driver (but still require a driver to be attentive), moving their models in the direction of full automation. These systems largely fall outside test approval legislation and can therefore, at present, be added without any government-approved independent verification that they meet any particular safety standard. Some of these systems are proven to be useful for safety; others have variable advantages. Read more at Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

 

 

 


End notes

[i] 1960’s Citroen DS Driverless Vehicle Test, Sunday Times Driving, 2013
[ii] Google cars drive themselves: in traffic, New York Times, 2010
[iii] Google Self Driving Car, undated
[iv] Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, The Pathway to Driverless Cars: summary report and action plan, February 2015
[v] Greenwich automated transport environment, GATEway project
[vi] Venturer Cars
[vii] Catapult Transport Systems, Driverless pods
[viii] Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, The Pathway for Driverless Cars: a code of practice for testing, 2015
[ix] CITS platform, Final report, January 2016
[x] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driverless-cars-technology-receives-20-million-boost
[xi] UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE) Smart Mobility
[xii] UK Smart Mobility, Living Lab
[xiii] Department for Transport, Trials of wirelessly connected vehicles and driverless cars, 2016 
[xiv] Highways England, Innovation, Technology and Research strategy, 2016
[xv] European Truck Platooning, European Truck Platooning Problem, 2016
[xvi] SMMT, SAE International Standard J3016: Overview  
[xvii] US Department of Transportation, V2V communication technology fact sheet, 2014
[xviii] Greenwich automated transport environment, GATEway project
[xix] SARTRE project, Platooned traffic can be integrated with other road users, 2012
[xx] European Truck Platooning, European Truck Platooning Problem, 2016 
[xxi] The Pathway to Driverless Cars: summary report and action plan, February 2015
[xxii] The Pathway to Driverless Cars: summary report and action plan, February 2015
[xxiii] Autonomous Driving, Daimler 
[xxiv] Greenwich automated transport environment, GATEway project
[xxv] Tesla website https://www.tesla.com/en_GB/autopilot

 


Page updated: October 2016


Brake’s junior campaigners say “speeding is naughty” as almost half of drivers admit breaking 20 mph limits designed to keep children safe

08/03/2016

news@brake.org.uk

Road safety charity Brake and Churchill Insurance are calling on drivers not to put young lives in danger by constantly flouting 20 mile an hour limits. A new survey has revealed 44% of drivers admit they have broken a 20 mph speed limit by at least 5 mph in the last year, a quarter of drivers (25%) admit they drive too fast in a 20 mph area around once a month, and one in five (20%) have confessed they do it on a weekly basis.  

The research also revealed just how many people think the roads near where they live are too dangerous for children because drivers are travelling too quickly. Almost three quarters of people (73%) questioned said they believe traffic is too fast for the safety of children and adults on foot or bike on some roads. One in five people (20%) said the traffic was dangerously fast on most or all of their local roads.

9 March 2016 saw hundreds of schools take part in the first of three Beep Beep! Days being held by Brake in 2016 to help children gain a basic understanding of road safety, and also to emphasise to parents and other adults their responsibilities in protecting children.

To mark this Beep Beep! Day, Brake’s youngest campaigners have starred in a short road safety video entitled “Speeding Is Naughty” to help get the message through to parents and drivers that their selfish actions can put little lives in grave danger. 

Brake Campaigner, Rosie Hutton, aged six said: “Speeding is naughty and if you drive too fast you could hurt me. Cars are made of metal and I am not. Please drive slowly near my school.”

Campaigns adviser for Brake, the road safety charity Alice Bailey said: “It was so much fun being involved with the talented youngsters who helped Brake make this year’s Beep Beep! Video, but road safety really isn’t child’s play. 40 children are killed or seriously injured on Great Britain’s roads every week. Beep Beep! Days are a great way to start talking to children about basic road safety messages and also to remind parents,carers and all other adults of their responsibilities when it comes to keeping our roads safe and protecting little lives.”

Head of Churchill Car Insurance, Steve Barrett, said:“We are very proud to be supporting Beep Beep! Day once again this year. Too many children die or are seriously injured on our roads each week. Beep Beep! Day is a great way of starting to educate young children on road safety, as well as raising awareness among drivers, including parents and grandparents, of the need to drive with extreme care when young children are about.”

REGISTER! 

Nurseries, playgroups, child-minders, infant schools and children’s centres can sign up now to run a Beep Beep! Day. Register online to receive a free electronic resource pack, or purchase a bumper hard-copy pack for £12.60 (inc VAT), including posters, stickers, certificates, activity sheets, road map and hand print poster. Go to www.brake.org.uk/beepbeepday, call 01484 550061 or email:beepbeep@brake.org.uk.

Advice for parents

When your child starts to walk with you around your community, talk to them about how they must always hold your hand. If your child is likely to pull away from you, use safety reins or a wrist strap. Hold hands until your child is at least eight, or longer depending on their development.

Make sure they understand the meaning of stop, traffic, danger, look, listen, walk don't run, and other key words. Encourage your child's nursery or playgroup to teach road safety through a Beep Beep! Day. Your child's learning will be more effective if they are taught about road safety at school as well as at home.

See www.brake.org.uk/families.

Full survey results

Q.1 Within the past year, have you driven at 25mph or faster in a 20mph speed limit?

Yes, once a day or more                    3.5% 

Yes, several times a week                  9.2%

Yes, about once a week                     7.5%

Yes, about once a month                  5.1%

Yes, less than once a month           18.6%

No, never                                           56.2%

 

Q.2 Do you think traffic in your neighbourhood is too fast for the safety of children or adults on foot or bike?

Yes, traffic is too fast on most/all local roads       19.7%

Yes, traffic is too fast on some local roads           53.5%

No                                                                               26.8%

 

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

About Beep Beep! Day

In 2015, more than 16,000 children took part in a Beep Beep! Day at 440 schools. Brake encourages nurseries, playgroups, infant schools, children's centres and childminders to run the event on one of three dates – in 2016, these are 9 March, 13 July and 23 November – or on whatever day is best for them. Nurseries receive a free electronic pack with downloadable resources, or can buy a bumper hard-copy pack for £12.60 (inc VAT) to help them run road safety activities and promote road safety to parents and the community.

Beep Beep! Days involve activities such as creating a poster of hand prints saying 'We hold hands', experimenting with toy cars to learn the words stop and go, and singing road safety songs. Activities are designed to help children to start understanding road safety, and to emphasise to parents and other adults their responsibilities in protecting children. Sponsorship raised by children helps Brake provide support for families bereaved and injured by road crashes and run community road safety campaigns.

See www.brake.org.uk/beepbeepday.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 

About Churchill

Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and UK Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0800 200300 or visiting www.churchill.com.

New figures show Highway Code falls short on stopping distances

News from Brake
Tuesday 25 July, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Stopping distances in the UK Highway Code should be increased because drivers' thinking time has been underestimated, according to figures obtained by Brake, the road safety charity.

Brake asked TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) to provide evidence on the time taken by car drivers to perceive, recognise and react to emergency situations. TRL referred to academic literature and concluded that the average thinking time is 1.5 seconds − more than double the 0.67 seconds set out in the Highway Code (see table 1).

This means that average total stopping distance − including thinking and braking distance − is an extra 2.75 car lengths (11 metres) at 30mph and an extra 3.75 car lengths (15 metres) at 40mph compared with the distances used in the Code. This difference rises to an additional 6.25 car lengths (25 metres) at 70mph.

Table 1: overall average stopping distances (average car length = 4m)

Speed

20mph

30 mph

40 mph

50 mph

60 mph

70 mph

Brake/TRL study

19m

34m

51m

71m

95m

121m

UK Highway Code

12m

23m

36m

53m

73m

96m

Difference

7m

11m

15m

18m

22m

25m

 

See a graphic showing the differences here.

Brake is calling on the Government to increase stopping distances in its next update to the Highway Code.

Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "These figures suggest stopping distances taught to new drivers in the Highway Code fall woefully short. Even though car braking technology has improved in recent years, the majority of the overall stopping distance at most speeds is actually made up of the time taken to perceive the hazard and react.

"The research shows that average thinking time is more than double that set out in the Highway Code. A true understanding of how long it takes to stop a car in an emergency is one of the most important lessons for new drivers. Understanding true average thinking time reminds all drivers how far their car will travel before they begin to brake  − as well as highlighting how any distraction in the car which extends this time, like using a mobile phone, could prove fatal.

"Brake is calling on the Government to increase the stopping distances in the Highway Code as a matter of urgency."

[ENDS]

Notes to editors:

Cuerden, R. (2017). The mechanics of emergency braking. Transport Research Laboratory: http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/pdf/The-mechanics-of-emergency-braking-2017.pdf

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road safety research

Brake provides a range of resources to help you to keep up to date with the latest international and UK research and best practice in road safety.

Research library

Brake’s research library provides easy access to a wide range of studies from experts around the globe on road safety topics including driver psychology and behaviour, road engineering and design, vehicle technology and maintenance, road safety campaigns and education, and enforcement and criminal justice. 

Visit Brake's road safety research library.

Survey reports on safe driving

Our safe driving reports are produced by Brake in partnership with insurer Direct Line. They contain surveys of UK drivers, revealing their attitudes and behaviour on key road safety topics, plus related facts and figures, case studies, advice for drivers, and policy recommendations. Topics include drink driving, fatigue, distractions, speed, and criminal justice.

Visit the survey reports on safe driving.

Road safety fact pages

Our fact pages provide an overview of facts and figures on a road safety topic, from safe vehicle design to cyclist safety, plus links to further tools and advice.

Visit the fact pages.

Events and resources for professionals

Brake offers low-cost membership and events sharing research and best practice among road safety and fleet professionals in the UK and round the world.

Visit www.brakepro.org.  

Info and resources for educators

Teachers, youth workers and nursery, if you would like to receive information about other opportunities and events please sign up at our preference centre. Use our guide to teaching road safety and road safety resources for educators for more information.