Marking a future for autonomous self driving cars
Good signing and road markings could cut run-off crashes by up to 80% over the next 30-40 years with the car of the future. These may be the easiest crashes to prevent in cars that can “read” road signs and white lines. But worn out road markings are easily missed by autonomous vehicle detection technology.
These are the stark messages in a new report, the third in the “Roads that Cars Can Read” series, which examines the relationship between road infrastructure and safety for conventional and increasingly-autonomous vehicles and provides a framework for infrastructure safety investment.
The report says that infrastructure maintenance will be a key factor in the autonomous vehicle transition phase. It will also become a higher-priority obligation for road authorities as driver liability will decrease, and liability of road authorities and vehicle manufacturers is likely to rise.
Commenting on the report, Stu McInroy, chief executive of the Road Safety Markings Association says: “Increasing automation currently relies on clear road line markings and signs that can be reliably detected. But one of the greatest challenges is the UK’s network of underinvested local authority-maintained roads.
“A fully funded road marking programme is pivotal to successful implementation of these vehicles. With more than 200 local authorities – each with different pressures and squeezed budgets – fully autonomous vehicles on anything but strategic roads looks like a distant dream.”
“Monitoring and maintaining road markings is a vital part of well managed roads,” says McInroy. “Only when we have roads that cars can read, reliably, can we truly have a high level of autonomous vehicle autonomy.”
RSMA will be located in the Partner’s Lounge at Traffex Seeing Is Believing in Bruntingthorpe on 27 and 28 June, where copies of the report will be available.