StreetWise reveals consumer confidence in autonomous vehicles

The results of one of the ‘world’s most advanced demonstrations’ of self-driving vehicles, which took place in London, has found consumer confidence in autonomous driving technologies is high.

The StreetWise project is being led by the UK self-driving technology firm, Five, alongside TRL and Direct Line Group.

The project’s commuter trial phase involved inviting members of the public to experience being driven autonomously on a busy 13-mile route in London.

This included shared tramways, a variety of roundabouts, cyclists, pedestrians, T-junctions, signalised pedestrian crossings and a wide variety of vulnerable road users.

Feedback reveals 96% of all participants rated their overall journey experience as positive to very positive, with 86% stating that their expectations had been exceeded.

The project team says factors that drove these results included the self-driving system’s ability to keep a safe distance, perceive and manoeuvre safely around obstacles and hazards, drive like a human and manage roundabouts.

This is in addition to the participants’ trust in the ‘diligence and professionalism of the safety driver in each vehicle’.

Stan Boland, co-founder and CEO of Five, said: “We are thrilled with the outcomes from the StreetWise project.

“Strong consumer trust and enthusiasm to adopt this technology in our daily lives is welcome news for the self-driving industry. It’s also testament to the need for a relentless focus on safety in how we develop and test it.

“The experience we gained in building a completely new self-driving system, including sophisticated deep learning perception and planning technologies, required us to build a prototypical cloud-based technology to help develop and test our system to a measurable level ahead of time.”

As well as the technology development, the StreetWise project also highlighted the remaining hurdles in establishing the regulatory landscape, delivering clarity on what testing should be done.

David Hynd, chief scientist for TRL, said: “The safety of not only the vehicles involved, but also of the passengers and other road users is of paramount importance. This is why the safety case for the StreetWise trials was the most advanced version used in any trial to date.

“Moving forwards, it is essential that the wider industry comes together to build on what we have achieved so far, so that we not only learn from our combined findings, but also so we can build the framework whereby we harmonise the standards for a future that includes automated vehicles.”

27 August 2020