Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

On the Foundation of Autonomous Mobility: Establishing Fundamental Principles for a Digital Driver

Bård Myhrea, Are Hellandsvikb and Stig Petersenc

SINTEF Digital, Norway.


Autonomous mobility is by many regarded as the ultimate vision for future green transportation, and driverless operations are therefore pursued for several transportation modes, such as road, rail and water. The scientific and technological communities within each of these domains do however employ different definitions of autonomy or automation. And while these definitions to a certain extent describe the functions of the vehicle, train or vessel, they do not provide any assistance or direction when it comes to designing autonomous systems. This paper aims to address these shortcomings by suggesting an alternative way of approaching autonomous systems. After presenting a set of overall requirements for a common framework for autonomous transportation, the paper introduces the concept of a "digital driver" as a new basis for autonomous mobility. The paper then suggests five fundamental principles for a digital driver, and describes how these may contribute in the analysis and design of autonomous mobility systems.

Keywords: Autonomy, Digital driver, Responsibility, Liability, Human-machine interaction, Remote-control, Framework.

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