The Data Will Always Set You Free - The Road To Autonomy

The Data Will Always Set You Free

Andy Smart, Safety & Technical Standards Specialist joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss why the data will always set you free when an organization embraces and implements a culture of safety.

The conversation begins with Andy talking about the first time he experienced mobility freedom when he got his first bike at age ten in Scotland. Today, Andy rides a fixed-gear bike without brakes as he wants to be in control and fully aware of his surroundings at all times.

It’s all about the awareness of your surroundings and your connectivity to your environment. You will never be more connected in that sense when you are riding [a fixed-gear bike without brakes] as you have to be tuned in both from an acoustic point of view, visual and acoustic.

– Andy Smart

When Andy is driving a vehicle he uses the same tactics that he uses while riding a bike. Once on a cross-country drive from Michigan to California with his wife, Andy overtook a truck as he heard the sound of little pieces of rubber hitting the windshield because it was only a matter of time before the truck tire would blow. Potentially avoiding a crash because he was fully aware of his surroundings.

It is all about the feeling.

– Andy Smart

While driving a vehicle or riding a motorcycle or a bike, Andy is always aware of his surroundings.

I am looking through the lens of the driver and also the environment and the connection between the two.

– Andy Smart

Taking a look at the current driving environment, a lot of drivers do not pay attention while driving as they are distracted by their phones. What these drivers fail to realize and what Andy points out very clearly is that a vehicle is a lethal weapon that has to be treated with care and respect.

Building upon Andy’s real-world experiences, Grayson shifts the conversation to autonomous vehicles and how Andy approaches AV safety. One of the most important elements of AV safety is the organization’s commitment to safety.

The whole basis of a safety culture in an organization is above any business objectives. It has to be you are held to a higher level. Business decisions should not be built around safety. Safety decisions are made because of safety, not through business decisions.

– Andy Smart

A holistic approach to safety is what is required to develop a culture of safety. It’s an approach that is built around all aspects of the operation and takes into account both off-vehicle and on-vehicle operations. Without a globally recognized safety standard, Grayson asks Andy how AV safety can be measured.

As engineers, it is our responsibility to go in and look and to say ok who already does this. Let’s benchmark other industries. We are not unique. We are into some groundbreaking stuff here, but hey would you believe that mining has been automating mining trucks for the last 35 years.

Maybe we can learn a bit from them. It’s different but learn, adapt, because as engineers you have to put your hand on your heart and say I did my best and I did everything I could do to find out what was the right way to do it.

– Andy Smart

With the advancements of ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) and the growing trend of consumers over-relying on SAE Level 2+ systems, Grayson and Andy discuss who is responsible for a crash and what can be done to improve safety.

The person who is making the decisions is responsible, they have primary responsibility.

– Andy Smart

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson and Andy discuss how consumers approach safety. Why dealer training for ADAS is important and the role driver monitoring will play in the future of ADAS.

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Recorded on Tuesday, July 13, 2021