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New safety regulations for automated vehicle trials and testing released in UK

The BSI Group (British Standards Institution), in its role as the UK’s national standards body, has released ‘PAS 1881 assuring safety of automated vehicle trials and testing’. The specification sets out minimum requirements for managing safety during development testing and when trialling automated vehicles, such as driverless cars, both on and off public roads.

It is the first fast-tracked standardisation document, known as a Publicly Available Specification (PAS), to be published as part of BSI’s two-year CAV Standards Programme. The Programme, has been delivered in conjunction with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV),Department for Transport, Innovate UK and Zenzic. It aims to accelerate the safe use of CAVs with guidance and technical standards.

As the UK positions itself as global centre for CAV development, PAS 1881 can help organisations involved in testing and public trials of CAVs to demonstrate that their safety case follows good practice. It will help provide confidence to insurers, authorities and the public. BSI has been able to harness the experience of innovative CAV trials and testing already taking place in the UK to develop a world-leading document with PAS 1881, one of the first of its kind globally.

This free to download PAS has been produced by a steering group made-up of organisations from the UK CAV eco-system, including TRL and other automotive and technology professionals.

PAS 1881 will supplement UK government’s own Code of Practice for trialling automated vehicles with core requirements for managing safety during trials and testing. It also complements the updated Safety Case Framework Report 2.0, also available today, created by Zenzic, the organisation dedicated to accelerating the self-driving revolution in the UK and TRL. The report offers high-level guidance and supporting processes to ensure a consistent approach to safety is adopted across the UK’s testbed ecosystem, in line with good practice and PAS 1881.

The launch coincides with the publication of a new vocabulary of key technical terms and definitions for the industry by BSI. The digital database will provide a much-needed touchstone for those involved in CAVs and its development has been designed to reflect the fast-changing nature of the market.

Scott Steedman, director of standards at BSI, said: “Our ambition in the UK is to create the best possible environment for the safe trialling, testing and deployment of innovative future vehicle technology. Critically, this depends on having the right standards that will support industry, regulators and build trust with the public. BSI’s standards strategy for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) is delivering solutions that will accelerate innovation but keep safety first.”

Future of Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “The UK intends to remain a world leader in transport innovation from the financing and testing of autonomous vehicles through to data, licencing and global standards. That’s why we’re investing more than £200m into research, development and testbeds for connected and automated vehicles. I welcome these new standards from the BSI as new technologies are rolled out, making the movement of people, goods and services greener, healthier, safer and more reliable.”

Richard Porter, director of technology and innovation at Zenzic said: “PAS 1881’s development has been supported by Zenzic’s CAV Testbed Partners across the UK and forms the basis for our own updated safety case framework. Organisations who adhere to the framework while developing self-driving technology will be able to move more easily between the different capabilities and environments that our Testbed partner facilities provide.”

The second PAS from the Programme, PAS 1880, will create guidelines for assessing the safety of control systems in automated vehicles from driverless pods to full production vehicles. It is due to launch in Marchand and will help companies designing automated vehicles for use in trials and on public roads to assess with more confidence the safety-levels of their end-product, systems and components.