Project on Social Attitudes to Road Traffic Risk in Europe (SARTRE)
New technologies to enhance road safety
Surveyed atttitudes to three different types of road safety systems. These were those that:
• Helped the driver (aid systems),
• Imposed certain behaviour (alert and intervention systems),
• Could be used by the police to enforce the law (regulatory systems
Below are videos: an animation of the SARTRE lead car following system and an existing real robot car automatically driving and parking in a parking lot.
The SARTRE project launched in EU testing autonomous driving technology.
Results of Survey on Attitudes to Road Safety Technology
Support for these various systems was very varied between countries. For example, less than half (41%) of Swiss drivers supported a system designed to prevent drivers exceeding the speed limit, while in Ireland, 81% support the introduction of such a system. However, this high level of support by the Irish drivers can be partly explained by recent publicity campaigns targeting speed behaviour. It appears that some countries do not like the idea that their behaviour is being controlled, e.g. Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands, although this is less the case in other countries, e.g. Ireland, France and the United Kingdom. In addition to automatic speed cameras, some countries already use cameras to detect drivers not stopping at red lights (‘red runners’) and some use camera technology to monitor ‘tail-gating’ - where drivers of vehicles fail to keep an adequate distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them.
The rapid progress being made in new technologies means that in the future a wide variety of behaviour will be monitored, and perhaps enforced. At present, drivers are more likely to support new technologies designed to enforce red light violations than to detect speeding. As with other new technologies, Swiss drivers are the least favourably disposed to speed radars (at 42%) while the Irish (at 87%) are among the most supportive.
In many countries, drivers declare themselves as being in favour of both types of system (e.g. Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom) or opposed to both (e.g. Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). These results are probably influenced by the current situation in each country and the drivers’ use of and experience with such devices.
While existing vehicle identification devices
make it possible to have access to some services (e.g. automatic payment of tolls) they may become increasingly useful to the police to, for example, identify those who exceed speed limits, or who infringe other laws. Overall, 61% of European drivers would be ready to install such an identification system in their cars, with the highest level of support being found in Italy and Slovenia; however, only 51% would support such systems being used by the police. There are significant differences between countries. The Irish were very supportive of such a system, while the German speaking countries, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, were typically against them.
Drivers are more in favour of the use of ‘black boxes’, which could record vehicle speeds, steering, braking behaviours, etc., which could help to explain how an accident happened, than they are towards such devices which could be used by the police to enforce traffic laws.Three elements appeared to determine the drivers' attitude such towards new technologies:
- What the system was to be used for;
- Their familiarity with the systems; in some countries, drivers may feel that the use of speed cameras have reached saturation levels, while drivers unfamiliar with a given technological device can tend to overestimate both its advantages and drawbacks;
- The drivers' attitudes towards enforcement and the importance they give to their freedom to behave as they wish
Given the current sophistication of these devices, and the potential uses to which they could be put in the future, it seems surprising that so many drivers support their introduction. It may be that we are already resigned to their introduction, as our society is becoming increasingly advanced technologically. Perhaps it is that automation is fair in that it works the same for everyone
Autonomous Driving and Parking Now