Endeavour autonomous vehicle trials

TRL's role in the project is developing a consistent method for safety assurance of CAV trials and testing, and exploring the feasibility of running trials of autonomous vehicles which are entirely operated and supervised remotely.

Published on 02 December 2020

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TRL is a key participant in Project Endeavour, which is a collaborative, consortium-led project, part-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. Project Endeavour is a mobility project designed to fast-track the introduction of automated vehicle (AV) services across the UK and maximise the potential of this new technology to shape the future of mobility.

The project was launched in mid 2019 and will run until autumn 2021 with pilot trials of live services in London, Oxford and another UK city. The pilots will aim to demonstrate AVs in real-world urban environments and help local authorities prepare for future implementation. 

Further details can be found on the project website.

The Challenge

TRL will focus on two challenges as part of Project Endeavour – developing a consistent method for safety assurance of CAV trials and testing, and exploring the feasibility of running trials of autonomous vehicles which are entirely operated and supervised remotely.

Safety Assurance of CAV trials and testing

A safety case is a structured argument, developed by trialling organisations and supported by evidence, that a trial or testing is safe. It promotes safety during technology development, minimises the risk of incidents on the road and provides assurance to stakeholders.

BS PAS 1881 details the requirements for an operational safety case for automated vehicle trials and testing. The challenge for TRL is to support BSI in developing and implementing an assessment methodology to evaluate an operational safety case against BS PAS 1881 requirements. Through developing a certification scheme against the PAS 1881 standard, the aim is that confidence in CAV technology will increase and the certification scheme can operate on a larger scale, both in the UK and globally.

Additionally, TRL will conduct stakeholder engagement with a range of stakeholders that are involved in CAV trials including testing organisations, local authorities, road authorities, test bests and insurers. The purpose of this engagement is to establish the market requirements for tools or services which will enable stakeholders to demonstrate/oversee safety assurance on trials in order to meet the requirements of BS PAS 1881 and other relevant standards. Once market needs are established, TRL will develop both a business assurance package for testing organisations and a high-level safety assurance package for stakeholders required to give permission to testing organisations for trials.  Within the safety assurance package, we are aiming to create a software tool that can be used to guide and support stakeholders (for example, local authorities and insurers) when engaging with the testing organisations, to ensure a consistent approach to safety case acceptance.

Remote Operations

Currently, trials and testing of connected and automated vehicles generally requires two people within each vehicle – the safety driver and the automated control system operator (ACSO). As we progress to more advanced trials, it is important to understand what is needed to remove these roles from the vehicle, without compromising safety. The challenge is to first understand how the role of the ACSO can be performed remotely and then apply that learning to the safety driver role.

TRL are conducting a feasibility study to understand the roles of ACSO and safety driver in controlling a CAV, including current relevant standards, and the key risks and enablers of making these roles remote from a CAV. This work will create an understanding of the technical challenges involved in removing the ACSO and what is required to progress to advanced trials, as well as creating a basis for future requirements needed to remove the safety driver from the vehicle.



Read more about TRL's work on developing assurance standards and guidance for AV trials in our blog on the Project Endeavour website.


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