Predicted road traffic fatalities in Germany: The potential and limitations of vehicle safety technologies from passive safety to highly automated driving
Paper in proceedings, 2018
It has been proposed that automated vehicles will greatly increase road traffic safety. However, few attempts have been made to quantify this thesis and to compare the expected benefits with more traditional safety systems. This study was carried out in five steps, adding systems in each step (from passive safety, standard Advances Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), advanced ADAS, safety-minded driving, to cautious driving) in order to capture the benefit of increasing levels of automation. Conservative and optimistic rules based on the expected performance of each safety system were developed and applied to the German In-Depth Accident Study database. Adding safety systems was effective in preventing fatalities, ranging from 12-13% (step 1, passive safety, no automation, conservative-optimistic estimate) to 45-63% (step 5, cautious driving). The highest automation level, in step 5, achieved a reduction of Vulnerable Road User (VRU) fatalities of 33-41%. Thus, passive and active safety systems contribute substantially to preventing fatalities and their further development and deployment should not be abandoned. Even the safest foreseeable, highly automated passenger cars are not likely to avoid all crashes and all road traffic fatalities. While increased market penetration across safety systems will make road traffic substantially safer, more efforts are needed to protect VRUs.