Showing posts from August, 2018

AAMVA Slides on Self-Driving Car Road Testing Safety

These are the slides I presented at the AAMVA International Conference, August 22, 2018 in Philadelphia PA. It's an update of my PennDOT AV Summit presentation from earlier this year.  A key takeaway is that the lesson that we should be learning from the tragic Uber fatality in Tempe AZ earlier this year is: - Do NOT blame the victim - Do NOT blame the technology - Do NOT blame the driver INSTEAD -- figure out how to make sure the safety driver is actually engaged even during long, monotonous road testing campaigns.   AND actually measure driver engagement so problems can be fixed before there is another avoidable testing fatality. Even better is to use simulation to minimize the need for road testing, but given that testers are out on the road operating, there needs to be credible safety argument that they will be no more dangerous than other conventional vehicles while operating on public roads. AAMVA Talk: Ensuring the safety of self-driving car road testing from Ph

ADAS Code of Practice

One of the speakers at AVS last month mentioned that there was a Code of Practice for ADAS design (basically, level 1 and level 2 autonomy).  And that there is a proposal to update it over the next few years for higher autonomy levels. A written set of uniform practices is generally worth something worth looking into, so I took a look here: The main report sets forth a development process with a significant emphasis on controllability. That makes sense, because for ADAS typically the safety argument ultimately ends up being that the driver will be responsible for safety, and that requires an ability for the driver to assert ultimate control over a potentially malfunctioning system. The part that I actually found more interesting in many respects was the set of Annexes, which include quite a number of checklists for controllability evaluation, safety analysis, and assessment methods as well as Human

The Case for Lower Speed Autonomous Vehicle On-Road Testing

Every once in a while I hear about a self-driving car test or deployment program that plans to operate at lower speeds (for example, under 25 mph) to lower risk. Intuitively that sounds good, but I thought it would be interesting to dig deeper and see what turns up. There have been a few research projects over the years looking into the probability of a fatality when a conventionally driven car impacts a pedestrian. As you might expect, faster impact speeds increase fatalities. But it's not linear -- it's an S-shape curve. And that matters a lot: (Source: WHO ) Looking at this data (and other similar data), impacts at less than 20 miles an hour have a flat curve near zero, and are comparatively survivable. Above 30 mph or so is a significantly bigger problem on a per-incident basis.  Hmm, maybe the city planners who set 25 mph speed limits have a valid point!  (And surely they must have known this already.) In conventional vehicles the flat cu