Safety: The Driver at Motional

Matthew Wood
Head of Safety, Motional

Year in, year out, too many people die in car crashes caused by human error.  Driverless technology has the power to change this.  These vehicles won’t suffer from the human condition — they’re never drowsy, drunk or distracted.  They’re expert drivers, singularly focused on the task at hand: safely travelling from point A, to point B.

The opportunity to contribute to safer roads is what drives us.  The lives of our friends, families and neighbors is why we’re so relentlessly dedicated to safety.  We’ve been a leader in creating standards for our industry, and the Safety First for Automated Driving white paper — which we co-authored — was recently published as a technical report by ISO.   We’ve pioneered a sector-wide culture of data sharing aimed at making all driverless technology safer — not just our own.  We’ve provided the public with more than 100,000 rides in our self-driving cars, with zero at-fault incidents, and 98% of passengers awarding their trip a five-star rating.  

We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished: we’ve played a pivotal role in making the entire industry safer, and our real-world track record speaks for itself.

A Look Under the Hood

Today, we’re taking our next step. With the release of our Voluntary Safety Self-Assessment (VSSA), we’re providing a glimpse into the inner workings of our safety approach. The VSSA explains how we engineer safety into everything we do; how we demonstrate and test that safety; and the rigorous reviews we do on individual components, the vehicle as a system, and the wider ecosystem to ensure our technology functions as a highly safe whole — and can fulfill its promise to save lives.

Current government standards for vehicle safety do not encompass fully driverless technology. As governments work with the industry to create new standards, the US Department of Transportation encourages companies to provide a VSSA to describe their safety programs to the public. 

But to us, the VSSA is more than an outline of our approach.  It describes how we’ll usher in the future of safer driving.  As we prepare to put some of the world’s first fully-driverless vehicles on the road, that future is within reach.

This isn’t the final step.  We’ll constantly analyze and refine our safety approaches as we work towards making driverless vehicles a safe, reliable, and accessible reality.  Our relentless commitment to safety is how we build trust.  We’ll keep working hard to maintain that trust because it is the right thing to do.