In the media

One giant leap

By John Thornton

CiTTi Magazine

14 December 2023


PA Consulting's Michael Hurwitz and Tom Cartmell share their thoughts on the recent Automated Vehicles Bill in the King’s Speech in an article in CiTTi Magazine.

Commenting on the safety of self-driving vehicles, Michael explains: "It avoids the complex scenario of a shared responsibility model between the self-driving car and the driver. Without a clear dividing line of responsibilities, it is likely that each car manufacturer or even model could have a different boundary around what the car is responsible for, versus the driver."

Adding: "This type of fragmentation in self-driving vehicle capabilities would undermine public trust, underlining the need for a ‘trust by design’ approach to autonomous vehicles. Similar models with clear lines of responsibility work effectively in other modes of transport, for example autonomous trains and aircraft autopilot systems."

Tom goes on to explain: "The bill has raised questions, especially around vehicle security and the ownership and handling of vehicle data. Consumers need to feel confident that their data is safe and secure, as is their vehicle. To truly be able to transition to a CAV society the security of vehicles must be of utmost importance."

He adds: "CAVs can require around one billion lines of code placing cybersecurity into sharp focus. There will be a need for robust cybersecurity protections and regular security updates that do not impact the driving experience. CAVs cannot have a ‘blue screen’ computer crash or a ‘please wait until security updates are applied’ moment, without serious consequences.”

Tom goes on say: "Interaction with related European Union (EU) legislation, such as the EU Data Act, is another important consideration together with the likely regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) embedded in the vehicle."

When asked about digitising roads, Michael says: "This data will be used to create a digital map of the road network to support the safe operation of self-driving vehicles, which could also help make parking easier for all drivers by providing better information such as the location and availability of parking spaces. However, how this wealth of data is managed, updated and validated remains a significant challenge where AI and data analytics are likely to play a role" 

Michael also believes self-driving cars could even become a key data source to address issues potholes: “The data gathered when a pothole is hit could be reported back, giving the precise location and the level of shock when impacted, to flag potholes needing repair automatically to highways or the local authority. The data could also be used as part of the evidence required to support insurance claims for any vehicle damage. This level of data gathering does need strict governance to ensure the driver’s privacy rights are maintained.”

Read the full article in CiTTi Magazine

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