Autonomous cars - Vlaams congres verkeersveiligheid

17 Maart 2015
Autonomous cars:
A policy perspective
Jelte Timmer, Rathenau Instituut
Exploring policy issues of smart mobility
2012: Robotics
2013: PT in smart mob
2014: Self-driving cars
Dreaming of smart mobility
Current state of driver assistance
Last decade: rapid introduction of (persuasive)
technologies for driving assistance
Persuasive technology
Take over
Technology supporting driver behaviour
Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1986)
Article 8 of the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic, which
stipulates: “Every driver shall at all times be able to control
his vehicle or to guide his animals.”
The amendment agreed by the U.N. Working Party on
Road Traffic Safety would allow a car to drive itself, as
long as the system “can be overridden or switched off by
the driver”. A driver must be present and able to take the
wheel at any time.
Policy issues of autonomous cars
But different forms of autonomy
NL policy vision: connected cars…
• Intelligent infra & intelligent
• Main focus of EU/NL policy
and industry over last decades
• Step by step automatisation of
driving tasks
• Platooning possible 
contributing to policy goals of
energy savings and traffic
• High cooperation of public and
private parties for compatible
systems and information
…vs autonomous robot cars
• Intelligence in-car, no
communication with other
cars & roads
• Aim for direct full
automatisation of driving
• Safety margins for
platooning too large; less
contribution to energy
savings & roadefficiency
• Relatively independent
innovation path
Convergence or divergence?
Alignment of interests: governments
• Responsible for infrastructure, depend for use of in-car
intelligence on automotive industry
• Gatekeeper: sets requirements for (autonomous) cars
regarding safety and energy savings (RDW)
• Law and regulations regarding accountability
• Weighing different public goals: safety, energy saving,
efficiency, employment, innovation
Alignment of interests: automotive industry
• In-car intelligence (automotive industry), nomadic
• Uncertain business case of in-car intelligence
• Accountability - maintaining control over products may
be difficult due to the large network of other parties
• Focus on comfort, rather than safety
Data & Mobility
“For a company like Mercedes nowadays, the wheels are
primarily there to keep the computers from dragging on
the ground.”
Paul Saffo (Stanford University)
Data & Mobility
• New players on the market
• Who owns the data
• ICT-questions entering the mobility domain
New players
New business models
Who owns the data
ICT issues
“Car companies employ engineers who’ve been trained to
design cars, not digital apps.”
Jill Phillips, General Motors CPO
Challenges for autonomous connected cars
• Convergence or divergence
• Risk of solitary and diverging innovation paths; while both
innovation trajectories can benefit from each other
• Data & mobility
• The importance of data & ICT in mobility, gives rise to new sets
of questions regarding the ownership of data, and how different
parties will use the data
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