Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Safety Argument Consideration for Public Road Testing of Autonomous Vehicles

Beth Osyk and I are presenting our paper at SAE WCX today on how to argue sufficient road test safety for self-driving car technology.

See below slideshare or follow this link for presentation slides.

Preprint of paper here:

Autonomous vehicle (AV) developers test extensively on public roads, potentially putting other road users at risk. A safety case for human supervision of road testing could improve safety transparency. A credible safety case should include: (1) the supervisor must be alert and able to respond to an autonomy failure in a timely manner, (2) the supervisor must adequately manage autonomy failures, and (3) the autonomy failure profile must be compatible with effective human supervision.\

Human supervisors and autonomous test vehicles form a combined human-autonomy system, with the total rate of observed failures including the product of the autonomy failure rate and the rate of unsuccessful failure mitigation by the supervisor. A difficulty is that human ability varies in a nonlinear way with autonomy failure rates, counter-intuitively making it more difficult for a supervisor to assure safety as autonomy maturity improves. Thus, road testing safety cases must account for both the expected failures during testing and the practical effectiveness of human supervisors given that failure profile. This paper outlines a high level safety case that identifies key factors for credibly arguing the safety of an onroad AV test program. A similar approach could be used to analyze potential safety issues for high capability semiautonomous production vehicles.

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