Heavy Tail Ceiling Problem for AV Testing

I enjoyed participating in the AV Benchmarking Panel hosted by Clemson ICAR last week.  Here are my slides and a preprint of my position paper on the Heavy Tail Ceiling problem for AV safety testing.

Creating safe autonomous vehicles will require not only extensive training and testing against realistic operational scenarios, but also dealing with uncertainty. The real world can present many rare but dangerous events, suggesting that these systems will need to be robust when encountering novel, unforeseen situations. Generalizing from observed road data to hypothesize various classes of unusual situations will help. However, a heavy tail distribution of surprises from the real world could make it impossible to use a simplistic drive/fail/fix development process to achieve acceptable safety. Autonomous vehicles will need to be robust in handling novelty, and will additionally need a way to detect that they are encountering a surprise so that they can remain safe in the face of uncertainty

Paper Preprint:



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