Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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LETTER 65 unmanned systems inside October/November 2017 Blumenthal wanted to mandate that car makers include the option until such time as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, was able to certify that "highly auto- mated vehicles are suitable for driverless opera- tion and that an in-vehicle manual override for such vehicles is no longer necessary." "Until autonomous vehicles are proven to be safer than human drivers and skilled in all kinds of extreme weather and terrain, autonomous ve- hicles introduced into commerce must allow a human operator to be able to take control, man- ually, of the vehicle," Blumenthal said. "There are a lot of predictable scenarios that would ne- cessitate a human being to take manual control whether it's a cyber attack, a disruption of GPS signals or a criminal act such as carjacking." The nation's infrastructure is years from be- ing able to fully support autonomous vehicles, he said, noting that Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom had generally agreed on the need for a manual override during their debates on how to integrate automated vehicles. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, opposed the amend- ment because it would allow human drivers to operate a Level 4 or Level 5 automated vehicle. "What the amendment would do would largely undermine the purpose of the bill," he said during the October 4 markup, "as Level 4 and 5 vehicles are not intended to operate with a human driver." Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S. Dakota, took issue with a different provision of the amendment, which required that a human driver always be in the vehicle to take over if necessary. "I want to be clear about what passing this amendment would do. This amendment would require that driverless vehicles always have drivers," Thune said. "So the headline tomorrow would read 'Senate mandates drivers in driver- less cars.' I don't think that's the thing we want coming out of this hearing." "It certainly wasn't meant to be as broad as to elicit that kind of headline," said Blumenthal, who withdrew his amendment with the goal of narrowing its scope. The conversation, however, ref lects the dif- ficulties Congress, regulators, and the autono- mous vehicle industry face in moving driverless capabilities forward. As with the introduction of drones, the technology offers enormous cost and safety advantages but is complex, multi-layered, unfamiliar and creates safety issues of its own. Should there be an eye-popping accident involv- ing driverless cars the blowback could tie up the entire industry before it gets off the lot. Not Ready To Let Go The first challenge is the complexity. Even Sen. Nelson, for example, misspoke about the capa- bilities of Level 4 automation. A car with Level 4 automation can handle all the driving func- tions itself but includes the option for a human driver. Only when the technology reaches Level 5 does the vehicle do all the work (see page 66). The distinction is important because the buy- ing public is intrigued by Level 4 technology but turning against giving up the wheel entirely. S t ud ie s f rom b ot h K el le y Blue Bo ok (KBB) and the AgeLab at the Massachusetts AGE 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75+ 2016 No Automation* 12% 8% 10% 6% 5% 4% 3% Emergency Only 18% 11% 16% 16% 15% 12% 17% Help Driver* 27% 25% 21% 41% 44% 56% 52% Partial Autonomy 16% 15% 19% 13% 17% 14% 15% Full Automation* 26% 40% 34% 23% 19% 14% 13% 2017 No Automation 0% 3% 4% 3% 2% 2% 1% Emergency Only* 24% 15% 11% 13% 10% 10% 10% Help Driver* 46% 43% 49% 55% 63% 64% 69% Partial Autonomy 16% 19% 15% 14% 13% 14% 10% Full Automation* 14% 20% 21% 15% 12% 10% 10% Source: Consumer Interest in Automation: Preliminary Observations Exploring a Year's Change, AgeLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2017-2 AGE DIFFERENCES IN WILLINGNESS TO USE AUTOMATION IN VEHICLES: MAXIMUM LEVEL OF AUTOMATION *: Age differences significant at α=0.05 Darker shading indicates greater percentage

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