The Nature of Automated Vehicle Safety: Will SAE Level 5 Ever Be Achieved?



The automated vehicle industry has been busy designing, developing, and deploying several self driving vehicles and services in the last few years. However, much of the outcomes and the overall outlook of the vehicle and services, such as robotaxis, are not great. Customers and stakeholders complain that the level of automation is low, mostly SAE Levels 1, 2, and very little of Level 3. It appears that Level 4 is far out in the horizon and many wonder if Level 5 is actually achievable.

Customers complain that the levels of functionality, operability, performance, safety, reliability, and availability of the vehicles and the services they offer is rather poor with little signs of this improving drastically anytime soon. Automated vehicles running into parked police and ambulances, injuring and killing people, and not being widely accepted by the public are just sample of recent issues that continue to grow.

The recent experience of Cruise and Waymo offering robotaxi services in San Francisco has uncovered a new host of operational, safety, operability, reliability, and availability issues that were overlooked by everyone. Robotaxis blocking first responders such as firefighters and police seem to be the norm nowadays. Why is there a wealth of issues that all of a sudden is blocking the development and deployment of automated vehicles? What happened to the euphoria for the vision on automated vehicles that existed just a few years ago? Developing, manufacturing, and deploying automated vehicles and associated services is turning out to be much harder than anyone thought. There are just too many issues and contingencies that nobody considered before the rush to develop and deploy this new type of vehicles. The same for services based on automated vehicles such as robotaxis.

One can blame a host of reasons, such as the insufficient research and development by the entire industry including academia and the rush to dominate the industry by some companies. In this course, several topics have been assembled to provide the participant an outlook on the nature of automated vehicle safety and as a group, we will attempt to answer the question as to whether an automated vehicle at Level 5 can ever be achieved.

Feature of this Course – Short breakout exercises are available to be worked out at the end of each section. These exercises will be performed in groups ranging from 3 to 5 participants per group. The exercises answer important questions or tackle important issues on the topic in question. Experience has shown that participants learn a great deal from one another and often get important insights on the issues at hand. For this reason, students should bring their laptops to class.

Learning Objectives
By participating in this course, you’ll be able to:
  • List and distinguish dependability attributes
  • Explain current trends of new automated vehicle designs
  • Explain the implications of the current trends on automated vehicle safety
  • List and describe the activities in the V-model of system engineering
  • List and describe the various technologies of automated driving
  • List and explain the various SAE levels of driving automation
  • Describe the architecture and components of an ADS
  • List and state the main issues addressed by AD standards and regulations
  • List and explain the main frameworks of automated vehicle safety
  • List and explain the concepts intrinsic in the risk framework for automated vehicle safety
  • State reasons why you believe that developing safe AVs is really hard.
  • List and explain the main types of risk mitigation
  • List and state the main issues addressed by vehicle safety standards and regulations
  • Explain how compliance to standards is achieved: Steps, Means, Decisions
  • List and explain areas of latest and future developments
  • List and explain some ML techniques to improve safety
Who Should Attend

This course will be especially valuable for those needing to address dependability and safety issues in the design, manufacturing, and deployment of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) and automated vehicles. Ideally, participants should have a mechanical, electrical, or computer engineering or computer science degree. However, equivalent knowledge, experience, or interest on the topics is enough. The course has been designed for a fairly broad audience in the automated vehicle space that includes design engineers, test and validations engineers and managers, automated vehicle engineers and managers, safety engineers and manages, policy makers, city officials dealing with self-driving transportation, government officials, autonomous vehicle journalists, automated vehicles enthusiasts including hackers. 

Exclusive eBook Offer: Your course participation qualifies you for a specially-priced bundle of five books that explore automated vehicle safety concepts and technologies, authored by course instructor, Dr. Juan Pimentel. Click here for a summary of the series and links to a description of each volume. Details on this exclusive offer are sent to learners upon completion of the respective course offering.

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