SAE International – together with automakers Ford, General Motors and Toyota – has announced that it is teaming up with the three automakers for the formation of the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC), which aims to safely advance testing, pre-competitive development and deployment of Level 4 and 5 automated vehicles.

The consortium will leverage upon the expertise of its current and future members in order to establish autonomous vehicle guiding principles to aid in standards development, the organisation said. This also includes making use of the experience of its affiliate organisation, SAE Industry Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC), to convene the members of the AVSC, it added.

“We understand that autonomous vehicles need to operate safely and reliably in concert with infrastructure and other road users to earn the trust of the communities in which they are deployed. Our goal with the consortium is to work with industry and government partners to expedite development of standards that can lead to rule making,” said Ford Autonomous Vehicles CTO Randy Visintainer.

Industry collaboration is a significant step towards the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles, especially in foundational areas of automated driving systems and vehicles, said Toyota Research Institute executive vice president and chief safety officer Kelly Kay.

“The formation of this consortium creates a forum to collaborate and cooperate with various stakeholders who will play important roles in forming and synthesising the automated vehicle eco-system of tomorrow,” Kay said. Similarly, safety is at the core of what General Motors does, said the company’s director of global vehicle safety John Capp.

Though the fully autonomous vehicle is some way off, cars with semi-autonomous features are on the market already, including the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8. Our man, Jonathan Lee has sampled the semi-autonomous abilities of the fifth-generation Lexus LS in Japan – read about his experience with the Japanese flagship, here.