ISO 34503:2023 international standard for the safe operation of self-driving vehicles

New ISO 34503:2023 international standard on safe self-driving trials.

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UK plays instrumental role in 1st international standard for safe self-driving

Experts from the UK have been instrumental in developing the very first international standard for the safe operation of self-driving vehicles, the new ISO 34503:2023.

Based on BSI PAS 1883, developed by the UK National Standards Body, it uses the Operational Design Domain (ODD) concept championed by Professor Siddartha Khastgir, of WMG at the University of Warwick.

As covered extensively on Cars of the Future, the ODD is basically a definition of where a self-driving vehicle is going to operate.

Self-driving standard

The new ISO standard (full title: Road Vehicles — Test scenarios for automated driving systems — Specification for operational design domain) provides specifications for three key categories:

  • Scenery elements: non-movable elements e.g. roads, bridges, traffic lights
  • Environment conditions: weather and other atmospheric conditions
  • Dynamic elements: all movable objects and actors

The ISO website explains that the document is mainly applicable to level 3 and level 4 automated driving systems (ADS). It is primarily intended to be used by organisations conducting trials, testing and commercial deployment, and may also be of interest to insurers, regulators, service providers, national, local and regional governments.

Professor Khastgir praised the work of partners from around the world, including the US, Germany, Japan, China, France, Austria, Canada, Israel, Sweden, Finland, South Korea and Australia.

“Successful standardisation efforts are only possible with true international collaboration,” he said. “I am grateful to experts from various countries worldwide who have engaged and contributed actively to this standard.”

ISO members working on safe self-driving, 2023
ISO members working on safe self-driving, 2023

Guiding safe self-driving

Nick Fleming, Associate Director of Transport and Mobility at BSI, said: “It’s exciting to see the launch of this new international standard, given the potential benefits that can be realised by testing automated vehicles so they can operate safely on our roads.

“This new ISO standard has been inspired by the UK document, BSI PAS 1883:2020, the first taxonomy for ODDs developed in conjunction with UK experts and the government’s Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles.

“BSI would like to thank Professor Khastgir for his effort in helping to lead this work at the international level which, along with PAS 1883, shows the leadership the UK is having in the development of global standardisation for self-driving vehicles.”

Sarah Gates, Director of Public Policy at Wayve, added: “The concept of ODDs is the basis of deploying self-driving vehicles safely. A common way of describing ODDs across industry is therefore vital for creating the highest safety standards, bolstering public trust and supporting the regulatory frameworks required to commercially deploy self-driving technology on a global scale.”

This wider adoption of the ODD is a big win for UK thought leadership, with US-based self-driving expert, Philip Koopman, author of the book “How Safe Is Safe Enough?”, recently describing us as “the adults in the room” when it comes to regulation.

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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched in 2019.