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Public health principles to inform testing and build trust in automated vehicles

Abstract

Highly publicised crashes involving self-driving or autonomous vehicles (AVs) have raised questions about safety and eroded public trust in the technology. In this State of the Art Review, we draw on previous successes in injury prevention and public health to focus attention on three strategies to reduce risk and build public confidence as AVs are being tested on public roads. Data pooling, a graduated approach to risk exposure, and harm reduction principles each offer practical lessons for AV testing. The review points out how the eventual deployment of AV technology could have a substantial impact on public health. In this regard, inclusive testing, public education and smart policy could extend the social value of AVs by improving access to mobility and by directing deployments towards scenarios with the greatest population health impact. The application of these strategies does not imply slowing down progress; rather, their implementation could accelerate adoption and result in realising the benefits of AVs more quickly and comprehensively while minimising risks.

  • Public health
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Safety
  • Equity
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