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Autonomous Vehicle Safety Assessment with Fully Quantified ODDs

Journal Article
ISSN: 2641-9645, e-ISSN: 2641-9645
Published June 16, 2021 by SAE International in United States
Autonomous Vehicle Safety Assessment with Fully Quantified ODDs
Citation: Smart, A., Stetson, C., and Jesudesan, K., "Autonomous Vehicle Safety Assessment with Fully Quantified ODDs," SAE Int. J. Adv. & Curr. Prac. in Mobility 4(1):270-277, 2022,
Language: English


We are in the midst of a vehicle safety revolution. Current vehicle safety standards, best practices, and approaches are not adequate to ensure the safety of an Automated Vehicle (AV), the motoring public, and vulnerable road users. Continued application of these nascent technologies prompts the question: How safe is safe enough and how do we know that these systems can handle inherent risks of a given deployment area? Current practices are very focused on vehicle safety elements. In fact, there is currently only one published safety standard, specifically for AVs [1], though there are instances where some vehicle system safety standards are being adapted for AV application and some safety standards from other industries (e.g. aerospace and nuclear) are being considered. Specific guidelines for AV safety metrics and AV safety performance are currently in the development stages and once published will require time to be fully understood, thresholds defined, and data collected and accepted by the AV community. A holistic approach to safety that considers all aspects of a safe AV deployment beyond increasing levels of vehicle technology is crucial. Included in this holistic approach, as a foundational element, is a fundamentally new way of assessing and quantifying risks within the Operational Design Domain (ODD). This is produced by breaking down the risk of a given ODD as a sum over the risk of component scenarios which make up the ODD. This means ODDs are fully specified and not defined by subjective assumptions. With no single standard, best practice, or guideline that covers AV safety in a holistic manner, an assessment process including a fully quantified ODD is seen as the most effective way to cover all aspects of safety, including the environment, management practices, and the vehicles.