The European research project H2020 Trustonomy – “Building Acceptance and Trust in Autonomous Mobility” starts on May 1, Softeco will be the coordinator.

The project, whose kick-off is scheduled for 7-8 May in Brussels, sees the participation of 16 organizations from all over Europe: ITS (Poland), IFSTTAR (France), Työtehoseura (Finland), University of Leeds (United Kingdom), Panepistimio Patron (University of Patras, Greece), CSIC (Spain), Intrasoft (Luxembourg), Aitek (Italy), Catalink (Cyprus), Robocar (Poland), Vodafone Innovus (Greece), Stowarzyszenie Autoklub Poznanski Octavius (Safe Driving School of Skoda, Poland), Solaris (Poland), Scania (Italy), TTS Italy (Italy).

It is now taken for granted that in the coming years we will see the appearance and consolidation of fully autonomous driving vehicles on our roads: cars that drive themselves without the intervention of a person at the wheel.

What is meant by autonomous driving?

The automation degrees of these vehicles are 6, ranging from level 0 – completely dependent on the driver, to level 5 – totally autonomous driving without any human intervention. Between levels 2 and 4 there is the presence of a driver: in level 2 the driver still has an active role, at level 3 the driver must be ready to intervene in case of sudden need, level 4 is mainly autonomous and only under certain conditions it requires the intervention of the driver (eg poor visibility or grip). What will change in this future automotive scenario?

The contribution of Trustonomy to research on autonomous driving

Trustonomy – a name derived from the union between Trust and Autonomy – aims to study and define a path, comprising different themes and sectors related to the autonomous driving of vehicles, which leads to the building of trust and social acceptance by citizens towards the use of these next means of transport.

The objectives of the research are:

  • Develop a methodological framework for the operational assessment of Driver State Monitoring (DSM): real-time profiling of the degree of attention of the driver (eg cameras and various sensors). This data will be used by the on-board software to intervene on the driver’s attention with targeted and diversified warnings.

  • Study and define methodologies for the design of a specific user interface. The interiors of self-driving vehicles will no longer look like today’s cars; the way of interacting with the vehicle will be different and it will be necessary to review from scratch how the interiors of a car will look and to think of new and different channels of half-driver communication (not only luminous warnings and voice messages).

  • Compile a catalog of risks that can occur in a driving scenario with a high degree of automation.This will be useful in redesigning insurance policies and reviewing the regulatory aspect, but will also serve to study ethical decision-making processes and verification methods in the event of accidents or ambiguity. In fact, who is to blame in the event of an accident caused by an autonomous (or partially autonomous) vehicle? In the planning of escape trajectories, in the event of an inevitable accident, who should safeguard the vehicle first? The Risk Assessment work will also serve to improve the automatic decision-making process and to establish forecasting models to calculate the timing in which to warn the driver of the need for manual intervention on the vehicle.

  • Design a targeted training and a new methodology to train drivers and get them certified for self-driving vehicles, in a landscape where the way to drive and consequently the driving license will change. A method will be developed to educate drivers in the transitional phase of entering the automated driving system.

  • Defining a framework for evaluating drivers’ intervention performance: Trustonomy will develop a series of methods including measures of intervention timing, as well as objective quality acquisition measures (eg minimum progress time) and subjective (eg perceived controllability), always referred to the driver’s intervention performances.

  • Measure drivers’ performance, confidence and acceptance towards automated driving systems, through simulations in virtual environments and field tests.

  • Organize communication actions, guidelines and contributions for the definition of standards: the project will develop a strategy of stakeholder engagement, establishing the Trustonomy Panel, and will also distribute a complete communication program concerning pilot and panel. Trustonomy will contribute to the drafting of technical standards relating to the driving monitoring systems and the evaluation of the driver’s intervention.

Four use cases to test the results of Trustonomy in the field

The field piloting trials will be 4. In France the use case will be tested on a private car. In England, a simulation of driving not on the road will be experimented, aimed at detecting, through exercises and questionnaires, the level of confidence of potential customers towards autonomous driving. Poland and Finland will deal with the field training and validation of two particular use cases: light freight vehicle and public transport. In Italy the methodologies for monitoring the status of fleet drivers for freight transport in daily use will be tested, to verify their functionality on the road.

The consortium that forms the Trustonomy project will operate with a budget funded by the European Commission of 3.9 million euros, of which 0.52 related to the activities carried out by Softeco.

Press release