Timo Malm from VTT gave a presentation on safety of autonomous mobile machinery in an online event organized by Suomen Automaatioseura (Finnish Society of Automation). The presentation material is available online on the Automaatioseura website (direct link to pdf).
The presentation covered the following themes:
Autonomous vehicles are becoming more common, but there are still some steps to reach full autonomy. Also the terminology is developing. Currently, such words as driverless, autonomous, self-driving, highly-automated, unmanned, AGV and IGV have been used. The levels of automation are described at SAE 3016, which is related to automated cars. Autonomous mobile machines have usually fleet control and area access control systems, which monitor each machine and allow access to sections of autonomous area. Driverless cars have typically only onboard system, which monitors environment to avoid collisions. The accidents of driverless cars are usually related to intersections, where conventional car hits the rear end of the driverless car. There has been already at least six fatal accidents related to driverless cars. Autonomous mobile machines have many safety-related systems, which increase the level of safety, but their failure is a risk source.