New Ideas Presented To Keep Passengers In Robocars From Panicking

It’s a potentially scary scenario. A passenger riding in an autonomous vehicle thinks something is going wrong and senses some sort of emergency the AV’s system’s can’t handle. What to do? A consortium of automakers, rideshare companies and SAE International (formerly Society of Automotive Engineers) has come up with new guidelines aimed at reducing those fears.

The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC) laid out what it terms “best practices” in a publication titled “Passenger-Initiated Emergency Trip Interruption.” The document’s best practices focus on passengers riding in fleet-operated vehicles…

The key suggestions would provide two choices for passengers who perceive an emergency: touching a button or other control that would immediately stop the vehicle, which the AVSC calls Passenger Emergency Stop (PES), or touching another that would put them immediately in touch with a human being—that option called Passenger Emergency Call (PEC).