RAND Report Offers Framework for Measuring Automated Vehicle Safety

The report defines safety as elimination, minimization, or management of harm to the public, possibly including animals and property.

A new report from RAND Corporation offers a framework for measuring safety in automated vehicles (AVs), one that could be used by companies, policymakers, and the public. The report's authors considered how to define safety for AVs, how to measure their safety, and how to communicate what is learned or understood about them. It compares the challenges to people's perceptions of safety with other types of technology when those were first introduced, including elevators, and discusses how aviation safety's progress might be comparable.

Given AVs' limited on-road exposure compared with conventional, human-driven vehicles, the authors also consider options for proxy measurements — i.e., factors that might be correlated with safety — and explore how safety measurements could be made in simulation and on closed courses. Their report highlights the kinds of information that could be presented to boost public understanding of AV safety.

Saying no standard definition of safety exists in regard to AVs, the report defines safety as the elimination, minimization, or management of harm to the public (with an emphasis on people, although it can include animals and property). It says the methods of measuring safety must be valid, feasible, reliable, and non-manipulatable; they can be leading (proxy measures of driving behaviors correlated to safety outcomes) or lagging (actual safety outcomes involving harm).

Clearer communication about safety between the industry and the public will be critical for public acceptance of AVs, they point out. During AV development, regulators and the public should focus their concerns on the safety of the public, not on how development is progressing, the report says. It also says research is needed on how to measure and communicate AV system safety in an environment where the system evolves through frequent updates.

The research described in the report was prepared for the Uber Advanced Technologies Group and conducted by the Science, Technology, and Policy Program and the Justice Policy Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Incident investigation guide

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2020

    July August 2020


      Addressing Confined Spaces and Heat Stress Concerns
      Why Daily Wear FR Garments Make Sense No Matter the Season
      The Magic of New Technology
      Why Effective Chemical Safety Training is More Important Than Ever
    View This Issue