A new globally accessible database of virtual road scenarios has been launched as a public initiative to enable autonomous vehicle (AV) testing.
A new globally accessible database of virtual road scenarios, Safety Pool, has been launched as a public initiative to enable autonomous vehicle (AV) testing and help inform policy and regulatory guidelines for automated driving systems.
The Safety Pool scenario database, which claims to be the largest public repository of scenarios for testing AVs in the world, has been launched this week by WMG at the University of Warwick and Deepen AI. The database provides a diverse set of scenarios in different operational design domains (ODDs or simply put, operating conditions) that can be leveraged by governments, industry and academia alike to test and benchmark automated driving systems (ADSs) and use insights to inform policy and regulations.
Siddartha Khastgir from WMG, who is working on a seven-year program that enables him to create methods to test AVs, stressed the importance of a global database of scenarios. He said, “Safety of automated driving systems is a hard research challenge and can only be solved by national and international collaboration and knowledge sharing. With the launch of Safety Pool scenario database, we are inching closer to seeing automated driving systems on the roads. Testing and validating automated driving systems transparently in an integrated simulation-based framework and in real-world scenarios will not only provide insights into the readiness of ADS, but also speed up the adoption globally. WMG and MFM [the Innovate UK funded Midlands Future Mobility project] are grateful for the support of CCAV [the Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles] and Innovate UK in developing the database and we are excited to be at the forefront of this revolution.”
Deepen AI’s CEO and co-founder, Mohammad Musa, added that Safety Pool lays a key foundation stone for AV safety. He said, “We are working closely with governments across the world to create a framework for ADS certification that will bring vehicle manufacturers one giant step closer to deploying safe and secure autonomous vehicles on the roads.”
Scenarios in the Safety Pool database can be applied to a range of different autonomous vehicle systems, such as automated lane keeping systems (ALKS), which would see cars drive in an automated manner on motorways by adapting to speed and traffic around them, to trucking, to fully autonomous vehicles and even pods that could be used in town centers and pedestrianised areas as a ‘last mile’ mode of transport.
Initial scenarios have been generated using a novel hybrid methodology developed by WMG at the University of Warwick, using both knowledge-based and data-based approaches. The Safety Pool scenario database will allow organizations to create scenarios in their own libraries, collaborate with other organizations via both shared and public libraries and enable the public to submit challenging real-world scenarios.
Enabling scenarios to be matched to specific environments and operating conditions means that trials and tests can be undertaken in the simulated environment, controlled test facilities and on public roads, with evidence from each environment being used to inform the understanding of safe behaviors, bringing AVs closer to market.
According to the WMG announcement, it is thought that to ensure AVs are road-ready and will be safer than the average human driver, they must be tested on 11 billion miles of roads, an insurmountable goal in the real world. Therefore, the ability to test on virtual roads in simulation environments is paramount for manufacturers and government bodies to ensure safe behaviours and assure that AVs are a positive influence on road safety. The true test of an AV will not be in just the number of miles driven, but also the quality and complexity of those miles, leading to a widespread industry adoption of a scenario-based testing approach to ensure that the AV’s behaviors and capabilities are ready for the real world.
The World Economic Forum’s head of automotive, Michelle Avary, said, “We are thrilled to work closely with Deepen AI and WMG, University of Warwick, to launch the Safety Pool scenario database. We believe Safety Pool initiative is going to play a crucial role in standardizing and bring transparency to ADS certification globally. We are already in advanced talks with many countries to adopt ADS certification frameworks based on Safety Pool database scenarios.”
This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.Nitin Dahad is a correspondent for EE Times, EE Times Europe and also Editor-in-Chief of embedded.com. With 35 years in the electronics industry, he's had many different roles: from engineer to journalist, and from entrepreneur to startup mentor and government advisor. He was part of the startup team that launched 32-bit microprocessor company ARC International in the US in the late 1990s and took it public, and co-founder of The Chilli, which influenced much of the tech startup scene in the early 2000s. He's also worked with many of the big names - including National Semiconductor, GEC Plessey Semiconductors, Dialog Semiconductor and Marconi Instruments.