Ford, General Motors and Toyota and have joined forces with SAE International to form the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium.
Designed to "safely advance testing, pre-competitive development and deployment of SAE Level 4 and 5 automated vehicles," the consortium aims to develop standards for autonomous vehicles. This is important as most companies have been going it alone and the creation of standards could pave the way for faster regulatory approval of autonomous vehicles.
This won’t happen overnight and the consortium acknowledged this by saying their first step will be creating a roadmap of priorities. The group says this will include a set of safety principles for Level 4 and Level 5 vehicles with a focus on testing, interactions with other road users and "data collection, protection and sharing required to reconstruct certain events."
While the consortium is largely focused on standards and safety, they’re also trying to improve public acceptance and confidence in autonomous vehicles. This could be an uphill battle as a recent study found 71 percent of people would be afraid to ride in a fully autonomous vehicle.
In a statement, Ford Autonomous Vehicles’ chief technology officer Randy Visintainer said "Our goal with the consortium is to work with industry and government partners to expedite development of standards that can lead to rule making." His sentiments were echoed by the executive vice president of the Toyota Research Institute, Kelly Kay, who said "The formation of this consortium creates a forum to collaborate and cooperate with various stakeholders who will play important roles in forming and synthesizing the automated vehicle eco-system of tomorrow."
Likewise, GM’s John Capp said they’re eager to work with the consortium so "we can realize the true benefits of this technology and work toward a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion."