Ford, GM and Toyota set up a safety group for self-driving cars

  • While there is excitement surrounding the potential of autonomous vehicles, concerns have been raised with regards to safety.
  • And when it comes to regulation, there are also a host of questions to be answered.
Aerial view, view from above, drone view, or birds eye view of a highway at night.
Malorny | Moment | Getty Images
Aerial view, view from above, drone view, or birds eye view of a highway at night.

Ford, General Motors (GM) and Toyota, together with SAE International, have established a new consortium that will focus on the safety of autonomous vehicles.

In a statement Wednesday, SAE International, a global association of engineers, said the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC) would work "to safely advance testing, pre-competitive development and deployment of SAE Level 4 and 5 automated vehicles."

SAE International has defined five "levels" of driving automation, with the highest being where a vehicle's automated features can drive itself under all conditions.

"We understand that autonomous vehicles need to operate safely and reliably in concert with infrastructure and other road users to earn the trust of the communities in which they are deployed," Randy Visintainer, chief technology officer at Ford Autonomous Vehicles, said in a statement.

"Our goal with the consortium is to work with industry and government partners to expedite development of standards that can lead to rule making," Visintainer added.

The executive director of the newly formed AVSC, Edward Straub, said that being able to advance the safe deployment of level four and level five vehicles represented "another exciting chapter in the realization of autonomous mobility and the benefits this will bring to people around the world."

"To achieve these benefits, industry collaboration, cohesion and flexibility to merge new ideas with proven safety processes are critical," Straub added.

While there is excitement surrounding the potential of autonomous vehicles, concerns have been raised with regards to safety. In March 2018, for example, one of ride-hailing powerhouse Uber's autonomous vehicles killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

When it comes to regulation, there are also a host of questions to be answered. "There are no rules right now, international rules, on how to regulate automated vehicles," Philippe Crist, from the International Transport Forum, told CNBC in January 2018.

"The safety regulation of automated vehicles will have to be the same as for regular vehicles, using the same principles," Crist added.

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