AVSC Publishes Guidance for Passenger-Initiated Emergency Features for Autonomous Vehicles

AVSC Publishes Guidance for Passenger-Initiated Emergency Features for Autonomous Vehicles

Third published best practice gives passengers control to make an emergency stop or call

 
WARRENDALE, Pa. (July 9, 2020) – In the event a passenger perceives an emergency during a trip in a fully autonomous vehicle, how can they intervene? And what vehicle actions should passengers expect? These are the latest questions that the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium™ (AVSC) tackled in their third published best practice titled, Passenger-Initiated Emergency Trip Interruption.
 
The latest best practice provides industry guidance on the issue of how passengers will initiate an emergency stop or call while driving in a fleet-managed SAE Level 4 or 5 automated driving-system - dedicated vehicle (ADS-DVs). These levels of automated vehicles, as defined by SAE J3016™ Standard, will perform the driving tasks. Passenger-initiated emergency features have not been addressed by the industry until now. A fleet-managed vehicle is defined as a vehicle that passengers rideshare and is managed by either an ADS developer, a manufacturer or third-party operator.
 
“The recommendations in this document will set the stage for consistency across passenger-initiated emergency features in ADS-DVs and help calibrate rider expectations,” said Dr. Edward Straub, executive director of the AVSC. “Our focus was to develop best practices that ADS developers and manufacturers should consider for emergency passenger-initiated stops and passenger-initiated calls.”

The AVSC has defined a passenger-initiated emergency stop (PES) as a feature onboard a vehicle system that allows a passenger to send a command to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop as a result of a passenger perceived emergency. Fleet operations may restart the vehicle once the stop maneuver has been completed. A passenger-initiated emergency (PEC) call enables passengers to contact fleet operations for support when needed during a passenger perceived emergency. Fleet operations can then direct the vehicle to take an appropriate action such as rerouting or pulling over to a safe stop.

The best practice strongly advocates that all fleet-managed ADS-DVs be equipped with a PES function, a PEC function or both. In addition, passenger-initiated emergency trip interruption features should be noticeably different from other options for non-emergency trip interruptions, such as a route change or stop to pick up a friend along their route. 

“Much like an emergency stop button or a call button in an elevator, the general public understands that while they don’t control the elevator car, they have the ability to stop and ask for help during an emergency situation,” added Dr. Straub. “Riding in an AV should be no different and this best practice provides guidance industry should consider.   

“Furthermore, this best practice continues to focus on issues that will ultimately engender public trust with these types of vehicles on the road. It’s a great start and will continue to evolve as AV development changes,” Straub continued.
 
To download the full best practice, visit avsc.sae-itc.org and click on Our Work.
 
The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium™ (AVSC) is an industry program of SAE Industry Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC®) building on principles that will inform and help lead to industrywide standards for advancing automated driving systems. The members of this consortium have long been focused on the development of safe, reliable and high-quality vehicles, and are committed to applying these same principles to SAE Level 4 and Level 5 automated vehicles so communities, government entities and the public can be confident that these vehicles will be deployed safely.
 
SAE Industry Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC®) is an affiliate of SAE International. The SAE ITC team specializes in establishing and managing consortia by providing proven processes, tools and resources. ITC enables public, private, academic and government organizations to connect and collaborate in neutral, pre-competitive forums thus empowering the setting and implementation of strategic business improvements in highly engineered industries globally. (www.sae-itc.com)

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