[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Society is predisposed to the self-driving car, but there is still much work to do”



Gregorio Serrano participated in the ABC Forum on Technology and Road Safety, in his first public act as the head of the department

The self-driving car and a zero accident rate are two objectives of the DGT (Department of Traffic), as recognized by the General Manager of this entity, which this Thursday, in his first public act after his appointment, participated in the ABC Forum on Technology and Road Safety, organized In collaboration with PONS Seguridad Vial and with the sponsorship of BOSCH.

According to Gregorio Serrano, «the world of the car industry is closely related to technological innovation, and Spain, as an automotive power, is a leading player in this field».

This technology is precisely helping today in the field of road safety. They are taking «the first steps with assisted navigation» in connectivity, and in a following phase «we will receive personalized messages in our vehicle, as if it was a virtual co-pilot».

Serrano has pointed out that the self-driving vehicle could be a reality in 2025 «creating a mean between those who are more optimistic and those who have more conservative forecasts». In facing this future, both administrations and professionals, driving schools, industries and technologies «must be prepared so that when we are approached and pulled into this, we are organized, that’s why we at the DGT are working in depth on this».

The head of the DGT recognizes that today «the self-driving car raises many fears and people are expectant and a little frightened about letting go of the steering wheel», but «if we analyse what has changed our life compared to 20 years ago, it has nothing to do with the present, so we all perceive that the self-driving vehicle is going to come». Moreover, it is now common that «a car can park itself and there are systems that prevent it from invading the opposite lane».

Present and future driving aids, road education and safety, and its relationship with administrations, drivers, the industry and manufacturers and researchers, have centred the following debate, moderated by José Ramón Alonso, Deputy Director of ABC, which was attended by Aránzazu García, Manager of the Industry and Environmental department of ANFAC (Spanish Automobile and Truck Manufacturing Association); Shara Martín, General Manager of PONS Seguridad Vial; Jaime Moreno, Deputy Director of Mobility Management of the DGT (Department of Traffic) and Ricardo Olalla, Manager of Mobility Solutions for the BOSCH group in Spain.

All the speakers agreed the importance of the technology in achieving a reduction in road accidents, with the goal of «zero accidents and zero deaths». The arrival of the self-driving car will help with this, in its different phases. There currently are already self-driving vehicles in phase three, meaning they are capable of taking control of the vehicle in certain circumstances, such as when parking or while driving in a traffic jam or on the freeway.

The technology already exists, and will gradually reach the implementation of systems of aiding and assisting driving until reaching phase five, in which the vehicle will be able to move completely autonomously.

According to Shara Martín «society is predisposed to the self-driving car, but let’s not rush, there is a lot of work to be done». The General Manager of PONS Seguridad Vial says one of the challenges ahead is that «when we get into a vehicle we do not distract ourselves with all the technology». In this respect she wrote that «we are going to need a lot of continuous training so that the driver doesn’t only know how to drive the car, because he will also need to learn how to use all the new technology».

The Deputy Director of Mobility of the DGT (Department of Traffic), Jaime Moreno, «we are currently not aware of the existence of many security systems until they act», and self-driving is nothing more than «the sum of all these new systems». At the present time many mandatory safety systems in modern cars were initially optional. Looking towards the future Moreno believes «the change from the traditional vehicle to the self-driving vehicle could be equated with the passage of the horse carriage to the combustion car». But the situation cannot be forced because, if it imposes the mandatory nature of certain technological elements, this could imply an increase of unattainable cost by society, with which the objective of modernizing the automotive fleet could not be completed. In the end, he assures, «we could have two very dissociated situations, with a very old and unsafe fleet, and a very modern and technological fleet».

In the process that will lead to the self-driving and connected car, there will need to be coexistence between modern vehicles and older vehicles. From BOSCH, Ricardo Olalla believes that there will not be an incompatibility between the two, since «the self-driving car will need to be able to detect the environment that surrounds it, whether it is an unconnected car or a pedestrian». But this does not mean that there is no need to make progress in terms of connectivity, such as the need for «the car to connect with the road and other cars». This will also require maps with a high level of precision and standardization so that they can be used by the different existing technologies.

The opinion of Aránzazu García, for whom «the self-driving car needs to be able to act on its own, without the need to communicate with others». The Manager of the Industrial and the Environmental Area of Anfac (Spanish Automobile and Truck Manufacturing Association) believes that «automobile taxation in Spain is very high», and so this organization defends that «they somehow subsidize the new vehicle, less pollution, more efficient and safer».[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]