We launch the International Journal of Driving Science (IJDS) at a time when automated and semi-automated driving is on the cusp of becoming a reality, and it has never been more important to fully understand the performance and limitations of the human driver. We don’t yet have any fully self-driving cars on public roads, but, if and when they do appear, it won’t be in the form of door-to-door automation; a human will still need to navigate to the freeway and take over control at the other end. So, during changeover we need absolute clarity on who is responsible, and have safeguards for when something goes wrong.
There have been well-publicised crashes involving Google and Tesla cars. In these and other cases, a human was at fault, and specifically due to over-reliance on the automation technology. Take the Google car crash . On Valentine’s Day 2016 the self-driving development car got its gap estimation wrong and got too close to a public bus. It was only at low speed and only resulted in minor damage, but it was self-driving under close supervision by Google engineers – maybe they trusted their own algorithms a bit too much. More recently, Uber have been banned from operating supervised self-driving cars in California  after they were filmed running red lights.
The Google and Uber incidents were failures of supervision by employees acting in a professional capacity. The two Tesla incidents in 2016 (one in China and one in the US) both involved members of the public, who lost their lives through over-reliance on the ‘autopilot’ technology.
Of course automation has its place, and is already showing safety benefits via crash avoidance technology. But there is so much highway-driving (over three trillion miles per year on US roads) that even small errors and misunderstandings with humans be magnified. As the proportion of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles increases, any problems will show up in the crash record, and that is too long to wait. IJDS wants to foster new research into how people can interact safely with the next generation of intelligent vehicles.
Written by: Timothy Gordon
Posted on 23 Feb 2017
Han University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands has created a new open access international journal of the emerging area of driving science. We are pleased that 18 scientists from 8 different countries were willing to join our editorial board. The journal is fully subsidized and therefore free for authors!
Posted on 06 Dec 2016