PAVE Europe: Building trust in autonomous vehicles in Europe and beyond
Guido Di Pasquale, Managing Director of PAVE Europe, provides insight into the organisation’s efforts to educate the public about the potential benefits of autonomous vehicle technology and the challenges that need to be addressed for its widespread adoption in Europe and beyond.
Can you tell us about PAVE Europe and what its goals are?
PAVE Europe is a non-profit organisation dedicated to increasing public knowledge of automated vehicle technology and its potential benefits for safety, mobility efficiency, sustainability, accessibility and equity. With a diverse membership that includes international corporations, start-ups, consumer advocates, non-profit groups and other stakeholders, PAVE Europe is uniquely positioned to lead the conversation about the future of transportation.
The goal is to educate the public and policymakers within Europe and beyond about the potential societal benefits of fully automated vehicle technology”
The goal is to educate the public and policymakers within Europe and beyond about the potential societal benefits of fully automated vehicle technology, and to do so with the highest quality content and knowledge available.
By stimulating and improving communication about fully automated mobility solutions to the public, PAVE Europe leads a well-informed dialogue that builds trust and encourages critical reflection.
At PAVE, we firmly believe that autonomous vehicles (AV) offer the potential to improve the safety, mobility and sustainability of our transportation system. But public acceptance is essential for these vehicles to achieve their potential. That’s why PAVE is committed to raising public awareness of both what is on the roads today and what is possible for the future. Through our efforts, we hope to build trust and create a future where fully automated mobility solutions are embraced by all.
What are some of the most common misconceptions about autonomous vehicles that PAVE Europe is working to dispel through its educational efforts?
One common misconception is that fully autonomous vehicles are already widely available and can operate safely in any driving condition. In reality, there are still technical and regulatory challenges that need to be overcome before fully autonomous vehicles can be deployed at scale.
There are still technical and regulatory challenges that need to be overcome before fully autonomous vehicles can be deployed at scale”
Another common misconception is about liability. Findings from recent research suggests that consumers tend to focus on the fact that the human occupant of an AV is not in control during the case of an accident. They tend to imagine alternative scenarios in which the human had more control of the vehicle, leading them to conclude that the human would have acted more optimally to prevent the accident, even if they were not at fault. As a result, consumers often conclude that the technology is preventing or impeding the driver from acting in their interests.
Thus, PAVE Europe is working to educate the public on the current state of the technology and the challenges that remain.
How do you see public perception of autonomous vehicles evolving over the next few years, and what role does PAVE Europe play in shaping this narrative?
The more they know and understand, the more perception becomes aligned with reality.
With the increasing deployment of AVs on public roads, the public will become more familiar with the technology and its capabilities. As a result, there may be a gradual increase in trust in the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles. In addition, the benefits of AVs – such as increased safety, efficiency and accessibility – may become more widely recognised and accepted.
The more they know and understand, the more perception becomes aligned with reality”
However, there may also be challenges and setbacks in the adoption of AVs. High-profile accidents or incidents involving autonomous vehicles may negatively affect public perception and trust in the technology. There may also be concerns around the impact of AVs on employment and privacy, particularly in Europe.
At PAVE Europe, we are committed to constantly informing and educating the people on the evolution of AV technology based on facts, with the support of our network of experts. It is important that we move the dialogue and open the debates where the technology is deployed and engage with citizens, as well national and local authorities.
We are aware that public perception of autonomous vehicles will continue to be shaped by a complex set of factors, including technological advancements, safety and regulatory developments; however, it is important to promote the debate with local sensitivity campaigns, involving young generations, vulnerable categories and all those who will be directly or indirectly impacted by autonomous mobility.
What are some of the most important considerations for policymakers in regulating autonomous technology, and how can PAVE Europe help to inform these discussions?
With the rapid development and deployment of autonomous technology, policymakers face a myriad of complex issues that require careful consideration in order to ensure its safe and responsible use. These issues include safety, liability, privacy, ethics, as well as social and economic impact.
With the rapid development and deployment of autonomous technology, policymakers face a myriad of complex issues that require careful consideration in order to ensure its safe and responsible use”
Safety is a top priority when it comes to regulating autonomous technology. Policymakers need to develop regulations that require testing, certification and ongoing monitoring of autonomous systems to ensure that they function as intended and do not pose a risk to the public.
Liability is another important consideration. In the event of an accident involving an autonomous system, questions arise regarding who is responsible. Should manufacturers, operators or others be held liable?
Privacy is also a key concern for regulation, with the collection of vast amounts of data by autonomous systems. Therefore, it is important to protect the privacy of individuals and ensure that data collected by autonomous systems is used only for appropriate purposes. This includes ensuring that individuals have control over their data and that it is not used for discriminatory or invasive purposes.
Ethics is another critical issue that policymakers must consider. As autonomous technology becomes more sophisticated, it may be called upon to make ethical decisions, such as whether to prioritise the safety of its occupants or other road users. Policymakers should consider how to build ethical decision-making into autonomous systems and ensure that these decisions align with societal values.
As autonomous technology becomes more sophisticated, it may be called upon to make ethical decisions… Policymakers should consider how to build ethical decision-making into autonomous systems and ensure that these decisions align with societal values”
Finally, the widespread adoption of autonomous technology is likely to have significant social and economic impacts, such as changes in employment and the distribution of wealth. This is another important aspect that policymakers should consider and should develop strategies to mitigate any negative effects.
PAVE Europe can help to inform discussions about the regulation of autonomous technology by providing policymakers with up-to-date information on the technology’s capabilities, potential benefits and risks. We are soon launching our European Public Sector Advisory Council, which will be fit for this purpose. We want to engage with the European institutions, national representatives and local authorities to serve as a forum for policymakers to engage with experts and stakeholders to discuss regulatory strategies and best practices.
Can you speak to the potential benefits of autonomous technology for improving transportation systems and making them more sustainable and accessible for everyone?
One of the missions of PAVE Europe is to advocate for the potential benefits of autonomous technology, which has the potential to transform transportation systems in many ways, making them more sustainable and accessible for everyone.
Autonomous technology… has the potential to transform transportation systems in many ways, making them more sustainable and accessible for everyone”
One of the most significant benefits of autonomous technology is increased safety on roads. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to eliminate human error, which is a leading cause of accidents. This could result in fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities, making transportation safer for everyone. Autonomous vehicles could also improve the efficiency of transportation systems by reducing congestion, improving traffic flow and minimising the amount of time that people spend sitting in traffic. This could result in significant time and cost savings for individuals and businesses.
Autonomous vehicles could improve accessibility for people with disabilities, seniors and others who may have difficulty driving or using public transportation. They could also offer more convenient and flexible transportation options that are tailored to the needs of individual users.
In addition, autonomous vehicles could be designed to operate more efficiently in order to minimise fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Another potential benefit that is not always mentioned is the improvement of land use by reducing the need for parking spaces and freeing up space for other uses. This could lead to more efficient land use and more vibrant, liveable communities.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the deployment of autonomous vehicles, and how can stakeholders work together to address these issues?
The deployment of autonomous vehicles faces a range of challenges. The safety of autonomous vehicles is a key concern for stakeholders. There have been high-profile accidents involving autonomous vehicles, and many people are still sceptical of the technology’s ability to operate safely in a range of conditions.
The regulatory landscape around autonomous vehicles is still evolving, and there is a lack of uniformity across different jurisdictions”
The regulatory landscape around autonomous vehicles is still evolving, and there is a lack of uniformity across different jurisdictions. Stakeholders must work together to establish consistent regulatory frameworks that provide clarity and promote safety.
Furthermore, as autonomous vehicles become more connected, they also become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Ensuring the cyber-security of autonomous vehicles and the systems that support them is a critical challenge that stakeholders must address.
Finally, and at the core of PAVE Europe’s mission, is public perception. As shown by research and surveys, many people are still wary of the technology; thus, stakeholders must work to educate the public about the benefits of autonomous vehicles and address concerns about safety and privacy.
As shown by research and surveys, many people are still wary of the technology; thus, stakeholders must work to educate the public about the benefits of autonomous vehicles and address concerns”
To address these challenges, stakeholders must work together in a collaborative and transparent manner. This includes engaging with policymakers, industry leaders and the public to establish clear regulatory frameworks, develop standards for safety and cyber-security, invest in the necessary infrastructure, as well as promote public awareness and education. Collaboration among stakeholders will be critical to ensuring the safe and successful deployment of autonomous vehicles. In addition, rigorous testing and validation procedures can help to ensure that autonomous vehicles meet the necessary safety and performance standards before they are deployed on public roads.
How can local authorities be empowered with the tools and resources that they need to effectively regulate autonomous vehicles, and what role can PAVE Europe play in supporting these efforts?
Local authorities play a critical role in regulating autonomous vehicles, as they are responsible for managing the safety and operation of vehicles on their roads. To effectively regulate autonomous vehicles, local authorities need access to the tools and resources necessary to understand and oversee these complex technologies.
Local authorities can be empowered by providing them with education and training programmes that help them to understand the technology and its potential implications. This can help local authorities to make informed decisions and develop appropriate regulations that protect public safety while promoting innovation.
Collaborative partnerships with stakeholders… is also important. By working together, these stakeholders can share knowledge and best practices, and develop effective policies and regulations that promote safety and innovation”
Moreover, they can also be empowered by providing them with technical support, such as access to experts who can help them to understand the technology and its implications for safety and mobility.
Collaborative partnerships with stakeholders – such as industry, academia and advocacy groups – is also important. By working together, these stakeholders can share knowledge and best practices, and develop effective policies and regulations that promote safety and innovation.
PAVE Europe can play an important role in supporting local authorities’ efforts to regulate autonomous vehicles, offering a platform for education, exchange of best practices and experiences, as well as networking. PAVE Europe can help to inform – in a neutral way – local authorities about the technology’s capabilities, potential benefits and risks, and provide them with access to technical expertise. PAVE can also facilitate partnerships between local authorities and other stakeholders, creating a platform for collaboration and knowledge-sharing that can support effective regulation of autonomous vehicles.
How does PAVE Europe work with industry partners to ensure that the public is informed about the latest advances in autonomous technology and their potential impact on society?
The PAVE Europe partnership includes industry leaders in the autonomous technology field – such as automakers, tech companies and suppliers – to educate the public about AV technology.
PAVE Europe is committed to ensuring that the public has accurate and reliable information about autonomous technology, and that the deployment of AVs is safe, equitable and beneficial for society as a whole”
We work with our members to develop knowledge and research studies. We also create messages to ensure that policymakers, stakeholders and the general public have accurate information about AVs, their capabilities and their potential impact on society.
PAVE organises educational events, Town Hall Campaigns, webinars and online resources to inform the public about the latest advances in autonomous technology.
We also work closely with policymakers, regulatory agencies and industry stakeholders to promote the safe and responsible deployment of AVs. Overall, PAVE Europe is committed to ensuring that the public has accurate and reliable information about autonomous technology, and that the deployment of AVs is safe, equitable and beneficial for society as a whole.
Looking ahead, what are some of the most exciting developments on the horizon in the field of autonomous vehicles, and how can PAVE Europe help to ensure that the public is informed and engaged in these discussions?
Autonomous mobility, after a decade of hype, has faced the harsh realities of the market. However, there are still exciting developments on the horizon in the field of autonomous vehicles, particularly in terms of technology. Computing, for instance, is a technology that processes data closer to the source, reducing latency and improving the speed and accuracy of autonomous vehicles. LiDAR technology is becoming more affordable and compact, making it easier to integrate into autonomous vehicles.
Autonomous mobility, after a decade of hype, has faced the harsh realities of the market. However, there are still exciting developments on the horizon in the field of autonomous vehicles, particularly in terms of technology”
Furthermore, driverless tow tractors are enabling autonomous material handling in indoor and outdoor logistics processes, as well as airports, delivering increased safety and flexibility while significantly reducing operating costs. Other potential use cases include urban delivery, AVs for ports and logistics centres, and AVs for mining and industrial material handling.
PAVE Europe is providing information on its communication channels, through dedicated virtual panel series, through events and giving voice to its members that are at the forefront of these exciting developments. Local campaigns and citizens’ dialogue are the ways that PAVE Europe can make sure that the public is informed and engaged in these discussions.
Guido Di Pasquale is Managing Director of PAVE Europe – Partners for Automated Vehicle Education. He has 20 years of experience in the transport and automation field, specialising in intelligent transport systems, automated mobility, integrated mobility, research and innovation, strategy and policy.
Prior to joining PAVE Europe, Guido was Co-Director of Knowledge and Innovation at the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). He has also worked for the industrial sector as Innovation Manager in the ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) for urban mobility, public transport, new mobility services and co-operative systems.
Connected & Autonomous Vehicles, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), Passenger Experience, Public Transport, Traffic Management, Transport Governance & Policy, Vehicle & Passenger Safety
Issue 2 2023
Guido Di Pasquale