Autonomous Vehicles and “Vision Zero” at The Future of Transport Conference 2021

By Pierre-Olivier Millette, Associate Director, Automated Driving Technical Policy, Intel

In July 2020, Mobileye announced that Germany’s independent technical service provider, TÜV Süd, had awarded it an automated vehicle testing permit. It allows the company to drive its test vehicles in real-world traffic on all German roads at speeds up to 130 kilometers per hour. Mobileye is starting testing in Munich and also plans testing in other parts of Germany. (Credit: Mobileye)

 

Imagine a world where no road deaths are acceptable, where drivers and passengers are safer than ever before and where automotive technologies and regulations have progressed so far as to reduce road deaths to almost zero. In the European Union, this is called “Vision Zero.” Rather than a mere dream of a safer future for our roads, Vision Zero is a practical milestone set out by the European Commission and intended to be met by 2050, with interim milestones for 2030.

Today, I joined Claire Depré, Head of the Road Safety Unit at the European Commission, and four other leaders in the field at the 2021 Future of Transport Conference to discuss what it will take to reach Vision Zero. During this session, we will discuss the importance of deploying cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technologies and standardizing road safety standards (as well as associated regulations) across the European Union and the world. Though this Vision Zero initiative is currently limited to the EU, I believe that this vision applies everywhere and is a goal toward which we can all work.

Before taking part in that session, I led a mid-morning showcase hosted by Intel on “Automation in Mobility: What Now?” In this session, I will discuss the state of the autonomous vehicle industry in the EU and the US today, as well as highlight key advances in AV technology and safety standards methodologies that we at Intel believe bring Vision Zero within reach. I will also lay out some important next steps that we think align with the European Commission’s vision and will help move us forward in pursuit of that goal.

Milestones like these cannot be achieved overnight. As the European Commission notes, making a vision a reality requires a framework that addresses every aspect of mobility, including international policy, technological innovation and a recalibration of what we consider safe on the road, as well as challenges in implementing this framework on national and global scales. In that vein, Intel and Mobileye’s own Jack Weast recently wrote about the challenges that can arise if autonomous safety standards are not unified.

Today, the most comprehensive and forward-thinking regulations on the planet are in Germany, where the new Road Traffic Act provides clear guidance on the implementation of autonomous vehicles and permits the use of robotaxis. Many other nations, including the United States, are either in the process of developing regulations or gathering the input and feedback necessary to allow them to do so. Germany’s law may set the precedent for autonomous vehicle regulation in the EU and around the world.

In the years to come, autonomous vehicles may well become commonplace in a majority of EU nations. As Associate Director of Automated Driving Technical Policy at Intel, I understand the careful consideration required to make this vision a reality, but the current rate of progress leads me to believe that it is imminently achievable. I’m honored to be in conversation with so many thinkers and innovators in the automotive industry and to take part in the Future of Transport Conference. I look forward to the progress that will be made as a result of these conversations.