Infrastructure Star Ratings for the Self-Driving Car will measure how well road infrastructure design supports the driver assistance technologies of the future and increasing levels of autonomous vehicles.
Serious crashes on inter-urban roads may be slashed by a quarter over the next 30-40 years with the introduction of automated vehicles (AVs). However, the journey may be far from easy, with a mixed fleet transition and vital need for roads that cars can read.
Arguably, there are two simultaneous transitions taking place: one is the extent to which vehicles with at least some degree of autonomy are becoming part of the vehicle fleet; the other is the proportion of driverless cars in the mix. Within this transition also lies the development of connected vehicles and the extent to which they can interact successfully with infrastructure, each other, with other vehicles and with vulnerable road users.
Much is known about the patterns of fatalities and severe injuries for crashes involving conventional vehicles. Gradual transition to AVs will introduce new collision partners as they collide with other road-users, with infrastructure and, potentially, with each other. Safe AV use will require that road infrastructure features are reliably detectable and that AV manoeuvres are accurately anticipated by other road-users.
New risks are likely to arise where road maintenance is poor (e.g. poor line markings missed by AV detection technology leading to crashes), in autonomous perception of traffic flow (e.g. an AV programmed to be cautious slowing to enter traffic where a conventional vehicle wouldn’t) and increasing levels of total vehicle travel, unless implemented with high vehicle occupancy priority and policies such as efficient road pricing.
For more information on our AV research can be found in Roads That Cars Can Read.