TaaS Technology feature Claytex in the 6th issue of their magazine; How to build a virtual driving test for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs).
Before we let autonomous vehicles run without safety drivers, we need to be able to prove that the AI is safe enough.
This simple statement raises a lot of questions and, as a result, poses many challenges that need to be addressed. As a developer of simulation tools that are used for the development and testing of autonomous vehicles, we concern ourselves with these challenges, primarily, how do we prove they are safe and, what is safe enough?
In 2016 the Rand Corporation published a report where they calculated how far a vehicle would have to be driven to demonstrate it was reliable and safe. Their report concluded that to demonstrate with a 95% confidence and 80% power that the failure rate of an autonomous vehicle would be 20% better than a human driver, would require it to be driven 11 billion miles. This is simply not feasible.
For the past few years, autonomous vehicle developers have proudly announced their achievements in terms of miles driven. Waymo for example had driven 10 million miles autonomously on public roads by October 2018 and the rate at which it is adding to that mileage total is accelerating. But this is still several orders of magnitude short of the 11 billion miles cited in the mentioned report. Waymo themselves make extensive use of simulation to support the development of their autonomous vehicles and were expecting to have simulated more than 7 billion miles in the virtual world.
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