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Project Highlights

An Examination of Emergency Response Scenarios for Automated Driving Systems

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In the future, vehicles equipped with automated driving systems (ADS) that drive us instead of us driving them will become a reality. These vehicles will integrate onto roadways and may change operational interactions with other vehicles in certain scenarios. Public safety officials, such as law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency medical personnel routinely interact with a broad spectrum of public and private vehicles to protect people, to investigate crimes or crashes, and to save lives. This study sought to understand the following questions:

  • What are the common scenarios where public safety officials must engage in several different interactions and interaction types with a broad spectrum of public and private vehicles?
  • What are the protocols used during those scenarios and the different interactions and interaction types?
  • Do variables such as weather, roadway type, geometry, or vehicle type impact current protocols used in those scenarios?
  • How may the current operations change due to the introduction of ADS-equipped vehicles in driverless operation (DO)?
  • Are there opportunities where the interactions of public safety officials could be improved with the introduction of ADS-equipped vehicles in DO?

The research team was able to create several recurring scenarios where it was most likely that public officials would interact with other vehicles. The scenarios that were created included responding to an incident, securing the incident scene, supervising traffic control and direction, controlling a traffic stop, studying an unattended vehicle, and performing a stabilization and patient extrication. VTTI in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Traffic Safety Research Program (UMassSafe) conducted one-on-one interviews and focus groups with 79 public safety officials.

The efforts of this study allowed the research team to determine common public safety solutions based on expert opinions and create opportunities where interactions between public officials could be better served through introducing ADS-equipped vehicles. The results were published in Terry et al. (2021), In pursuit of emergency procedures for automated driving system-involved scenarios (SAE International Journal of Connected and Automated Vehicles, 4(2), 151-160. https://doi.org/10.4271/12-04-02-0012) and informed the development of the AVSC Best Practice for First Responder Interactions with Fleet-Managed Automated Driving System-Dedicated Vehicles (AVSC0005202012).