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Showing posts from July, 2019

Autonomous Vehicle Testing Safety Needs More Transparency

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Last week there were two injuries involving human-supervised autonomous test shuttles on different continents, with no apparent connection other than random chance.  (For example:  Link ) As deployment of this work-in-progress technology scales up in public, we know that we can expect more high-profile accidents. Fortunately this time nobody was killed or suffered life-altering injuries. (But we still need to find out what actually happened.) And to be sure, human-driven vehicles are far from accident-free. But what about next time? The bigger issue for the industry is: will the next autonomous vehicle testing mishap be due to rare and random problems that are within the bounds of reasonable risk? Or will they be due to safety issues that could and should have been addressed beforehand? Public trust in autonomous vehicle technology has already eroded in the past year. Each new mishap has the unfortunate potential to make that situation worse, regardless of the technical root ca

Autonomous Vehicle Fault and Failure Management

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When you build an autonomous vehicle you can't count on a human driver to notice when something's wrong and "do the right thing." Here is a list of faults, system limitations, and fault responses AVs will need to get right. Did you think of these? System Limitations: Sometimes the issue isn't that something is broken, but rather simply that all vehicles have limitations. You have to know your system's limitations. Current capabilities of sensors and actuators, which can depend upon the operational state space. Detecting and handling a vehicle excursion outside the operational state space for which it was validated, including all aspects of {ODD, OEDR, Maneuver, Fault} tuples. Desired availability despite fault states, including any graceful degradation plan, and any limits placed upon the degraded operational state space. Capability variation based on payload characteristics (e.g. passenger vehicle overloaded with cargo, uneven weight distribut