Session 178 | Geneva | 24-28 Jun 2019
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Agenda Item 3.5.1.
Working Party on Lighting and Light-Signalling (GRE) (Eighty-first session, 15-18 April 2019)

44. The Chair of GRE reported on the results of the eighty-first session of GRE (for details, see the report in ECE/TRANS/WP.29/GRE/81).

45. The chair of GRE informed WP.29 about the adopted amendments to the lighting and light-signalling installation UN Regulations Nos. 48, 53 and 74. He added that GRE had considered a first consolidated draft for a new 07 series of amendments to UN Regulation No. 48 and that, given its complexity, had decided to pursue this work by means of a task force. In this context, the representative of the European Union expressed concerns that the ongoing deliberations on amendment proposals for the new 07 series of amendments to UN Regulation No. 48 might lead to weakening the original proposals submitted by the experts from contracting parties.

46. The GRE Chair further mentioned that GRE had reviewed a candidate UN Regulation No. 27 (Advance warning triangle) proposed to be added in Annex 4 to UN Regulation No. 0 under Phase 2 of the International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA) and had decided that this was not necessary. At the same time, GRE had highlighted the need to include in IWVTA, with high priority, the three new simplified UN Regulations on Light Signalling Devices (LSD), Road Illumination Devices (RID) and Retro-Reflective Devices (RRD).

47. Finally, he briefed WP.29 on the GRE considerations of the signalling requirements for automated/autonomous vehicles (AV) and the establishment of a task force (TF) on this topic. On behalf of the TF Chair, the representative of Germany pointed out that TF had considered two main questions:

(a) Is there a safety requirement for AVs to provide signals to indicate their status and to communicate their next intended actions?

(b) If so, shall such signals (i) be visual, (ii) audible, (iii) or a combination of both?

48. The representative of Germany indicated that TF had come to the conclusion that replying to question (a) was not within its mandate and requested for WP.29 and/or WP.1 guidance. For question (b), on the assumption of a positive answer to (a), he reported that TF felt that AV signals should be visible, while recognizing a further task of addressing the needs of people with impaired vision.

49. The representatives of France and Japan advocated the need for AVs to have special signals for safety reasons, interaction with police and for the sake of general public acceptance of AV. The representative of the United Kingdom pointed out that the conditions for using such signals (speed, traffic conditions, level of automation, etc.) should be clearly defined and that WP.1 should be consulted on those issues. The representative of Finland recalled the general position of WP.1 that all vehicles, irrespective of their technology, should follow the traffic rules. He was of the view that, if AV signals were deemed necessary, they should be as simple as possible. The representative of China reported on the ongoing industry survey on this matter and agreed to inform WP.29 about its outcome. The EU representative stressed that TF should provide evidence for safety risks associated with use of AVs without signals. The representative of OICA warned WP.29 about the possible misuse of AV signals and behavioural issues with drivers of “conventional” vehicles. The representative of IMMA stated that in addition to the capability of AV-systems to detect motorcyclists, research may be needed to study the behaviour of other road users, such as motorcyclists, in response to AV signalling on motor vehicles.

50. The Chair thanked GRE and its TF for the work done and was of the view that WP.1 should be invited to address the concerns raised by WP.29 representatives and to provide recommendations on the use of AV signals, possibly in the framework of the WP.29/WP.1 Executive Task Force (ETF).