Safety implications of higher levels of automated vehicles

a scoping review

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Automated vehicles (AVs) promise to improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion and emissions, and enhance mobility. However, evidence regarding their safety benefits has not been systematically investigated and documented. In this study, we utilise a scoping review approach to investigate and synthesise the existing literature on higher levels of AVs’ safety implications. This aids future relevant studies by identifying the research gaps and reporting the methodological approaches used. The review focused not only on peer-reviewed articles but also on grey literature to provide a comprehensive overview of the current research state. In total, 5724 articles were identified, and 4167 records were screened after duplicates and dual publications removal, from which 27 were found eligible for review. Ultimately, 24 studies met all the inclusion criteria and were considered for the review. The reported evidence was focused on changes in road safety levels after the deployment of AVs in transport networks. The data was extracted and charted by one reviewer using tables to create a descriptive summary of the results and address the scoping review's questions and objectives. In general, the findings suggest that AVs hold the potential to improve the overall safety on roads, although the existing evidence is not mainly based on real data but assumptions regarding vehicles’ capabilities and behaviour. The limited number of studies and the fact that all of them were published or conducted after 2014 indicate that the research on AVs’ safety impacts is just emerging.