Self driving and SMS: How we are implementing our Safety Management System
July 16, 2021 | 4 min. read
As we like to say at Aurora, “Safety is a team sport.” We take a holistic view of safety, focusing on creating a strong safety culture that permeates every part of our company, including how we do business. A key part of that approach to safety is implementing our own Safety Management System, commonly referred to as SMS. This is an organizational approach—employed by safety-critical industries like aviation and rail—that standardizes how safety information moves through a company.
Ultimately, improving safety just at Aurora isn’t enough—we want to help the entire industry make progress. Read on to learn the importance of implementing SMS and best practices for companies adopting their own SMS.
What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?
SMS ensures that safety information is presented to the right person, at the right time, and that there is accountability and transparency for every safety action taken across the company. This approach ensures that safety is prioritized as we make decisions, with features such as a Safety Review Board for safety risk management decisions and a clear and easy-to-use Safety Concern Reporting process.
We actively work to make safety a part of everyday life at Aurora. For example, our non-retaliation Safety Concern Reporting policy encourages everyone at the company, from our vehicle operators to our CEO, to speak up if something doesn’t feel safe. In the spirit of transparency, we share a repository of safety reports and their status on our company intranet.
Safety is not a box you check but rather, an ongoing and active process. Based on our experience and expertise, we’re sharing our best practices in the hope that they can help the broader autonomous vehicle ecosystem deliver self-driving safely.
Make sure senior leadership is involved from day one. Safety culture works best when it is supported by those with the resources, authority, and responsibility to address safety issues. Senior leaders should understand the approach and associated policies, model high safety prioritization for their staff, and play a hands-on role in crafting procedures that fit your organization’s culture, pace, and work style.
Delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.