Davos Agenda

Driving trust: Paving the road for autonomous vehicles

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In the autonomous vehicles sector, trust needs to be rebuilt with the general public.

In the autonomous vehicles sector, trust needs to be rebuilt with the general public. Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Maria Alonso
Lead, Autonomous Systems, World Economic Forum
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This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • We need to rebuild trust in autonomous vehicles – this includes public acceptance and trust between public and private sectors.
  • To realize the safety benefits that the technology promises, strong global collaboration is necessary.
  • We asked 5 industry and public sector leaders about the role of trust and collaboration in advancing AV technology and deployments.

Rebuilding Trust is the theme of the 2024 Annual Meeting in Davos. A theme that resonates both with the current state of the world at large and with the automated and autonomous vehicles (AV) sector in particular.

According to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Mobility Confidence Index (MCI) Study, consumer confidence in autonomous vehicles in the United States dropped to 37 out of 100, marking a two-point decrease compared to the 2022 index score. This underscores that we need to rebuild trust with the general public. Similarly, we need to rebuild trust between the public and private sectors when it comes to AV deployments.

We also need to drive global trust and avoid a patchwork of global approaches with little collaboration among each other. To realize the safety benefits that the technology promises, strong global collaboration is necessary.

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We asked five industry and public sector leaders about the role of trust and collaboration in advancing AV technology and deployments, and about their 2024 priorities. They highlight diverse aspects, including the need for a strong safety culture, rigorous safety testing and increased transparency. At the World Economic Forum, we are contributing to these points with the DRIVE-A initiative: Delivering Responsible Implementation of Vehicle Autonomy.

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‘Prioritizing safety, transparency, ethical considerations and community needs’

Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan, Chief Executive Officer, Public Transport Agency, Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority

Cities that regulate autonomous vehicles by prioritizing safety, and by communicating openly about the technology's capabilities and limitations are more likely to build public trust, and thereby accelerate adoption. We aim to collectively navigate the challenges and accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles by prioritizing safety, transparency, ethical considerations and community needs.

For 2024, our target is to further roll-out and enhance the autonomous taxi service in Dubai, and to gradually allow the public to experience autonomous shuttle buses, marine vessels etc. and, therefore, come one step closer to Dubai’s vision of achieving 25% of the total transportation to be autonomous by 2030.

‘Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose’

Andrea Kollmorgen, Chief Executive Officer, Simulytic – a Siemens AG Venture

‘Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose’ has never been truer than for automated vehicle technology. To earn the trust of the general population, continuous and targeted engagement with all stakeholders is paramount. For that, we need to have language and messaging that speaks transparently to this audience and steers clear of industry jargon. Collaboration signals transparency and trust amongst those developing AVs for roads, fields, heavy industry, etc. This inherently reduces threats and unknowns of a highly complex technology.

Our 2024+ focus is scaling our AV risk scoring technology that catalyses a new AV underwriting process, advancing transparent, evidence-based risk assessments together with AV insurers.

Our priority is to build safety cases for automated vehicles’

Dirk Linzmeier, Chief Executive Officer, TTTech Auto

The road towards automated driving is probably the most complex and arduous task mankind has taken up. The challenge is to ensure safety; ensure that even rare corner cases are handled in a safe manner. Building trust can only be done by a broadly accepted in society engineering approach that is able to prove that autonomous vehicles are at least one order of magnitude safer than those with human drivers.

Our priority is to build safety cases for automated vehicles, thanks to our safety architecture, components and methodology toolbox. With our industry collaboration event “The Autonomous” we will continue to develop a broadly accepted safety approach for automated driving.

‘We do not expect perfection, but we do expect industry to collaborate’

Jeffrey Tumlin, Director of Transportation, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

For every new mobility technology that we are pitched in San Francisco, including autonomous vehicles, we ask companies how their tech helps improve our accessibility, safety, inclusivity and decarbonization goals. We ask for data transparency and co-development of critical KPIs. We do not expect perfection, but we do expect industry to collaborate with cities to track unintended consequences and make improvements before scaling too quickly.

For cities, collaboration and data transparency can lead to trust and more successful product rollout. In 2024, we will work with state and federal agencies to establish a level regulatory playing field that allows rapid expansion for companies that uphold the public good.

‘Freight is the perfect environment for AV tech to be deployed and scaled’

Robert Falck, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Einride

The repetitive and predictable nature of freight makes it the perfect environment for autonomous technologies to be deployed and scaled. And, most importantly, for its benefits to be showcased. Goods need to be moved from one location to another, all day long, five to seven days a week. We are talking about a fenced area with a certain amount of people in very specific roles. This lower complexity scenario allows for the technology to be constantly improved, something crucial when developing innovative solutions as transformative as autonomous transport.

The future we want to build cannot be achieved without collaboration and transparency. We need the right context, people, and partners to make sure the technology goes where society needs it.

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Contents
‘Prioritizing safety, transparency, ethical considerations and community needs’‘Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose’Our priority is to build safety cases for automated vehicles’‘We do not expect perfection, but we do expect industry to collaborate’‘Freight is the perfect environment for AV tech to be deployed and scaled’

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