Researchers in Austria are testing out technology that corrects the internal errors of software used for driverless cars.
Franz Wotawa from the Institute of Software Technology at TU Graz and his team in close collaboration with the cyber-physical system testing team of AVL have been working on the automatic generation of extensive test scenarios for simulations and error compensation using an adaptive control method as part of the AutoDrive project.
Led by Infineon, this EU Horizon2020 programme includes TTTech Computertechnik and TTTech Auto, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and the Virtual Vehicle Competence Centre alongside TU Graz and AVL List, and is due to finish in October.
Test drives alone do not provide sufficient evidence for the accident safety of autonomous driving systems, says Wotawa at TU Graz. Autonomous systems and in particular autonomous driving systems must be able to correct themselves in the event of malfunctions or changed environmental conditions and reliably reach given target states at all times. "When we look at semi-automated systems already in use today, such as cruise control, it quickly becomes clear that in the case of errors, the driver can and will always intervene. With fully autonomous vehicles, this is no longer an option, so the system itself must be able to act accordingly," he said.
"Autonomous vehicles would have to be driven around 200 million kilometers to prove their reliability - especially for accident scenarios. That is 10,000 times more test kilometers than are required for conventional cars," he added. However, critical test scenarios with danger to life and limb cannot be reproduced in real test drives. Autonomous driving systems must therefore be tested for their safety in simulations.
"Although the tests so far cover many scenarios, the question always remains whether this is sufficient and whether all possible accident scenarios have been considered," says Wotawa.