Goodyear and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) are to collaborate on a new pan-European research project to investigate the attitudes and readiness of drivers to share the road with autonomous vehicles.
The research will capture driver opinions from 11 European countries through surveys and focus groups as part of Goodyear’s ThinkGoodMobility platform, focused on smart, safe and sustainable future mobility.
Researchers at IHS Automotive recently predicted there will be sales of nearly 21 million autonomous vehicles globally in 2035. According to a 2015 Goodyear/LSE survey of drivers from 15 European countries, 88% of respondents agreed that there are ‘unwritten rules’ that govern driver interactions with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles on the road.
“A key question for this year’s research is how the unwritten rules and driver behavior that we employ will apply to self-driving cars, and to what extent self-driving cars will need to learn the common sense humans use to make every-day driving situations work,” explained Dr Chris Tennant, who is leading the research project at the LSE.
Preliminary focus group discussions have already raised questions from drivers about the flexibility of self-driving cars to adapt to the social landscape of the road; whether human drivers will take advantage of computer drivers’ strict adherence to the rules of the road; or, to the contrary, how rule-abiding self-driving cars might lead the way to positive change, encouraging higher standards of behavior and safety from all drivers.
Tennant added. “We believe that this research project will generate valuable insights into how autonomous vehicles can be properly integrated into the dynamic social space of our roads.”
Goodyear and LSE plan to publicly report their research findings in October 2016.