As autonomous vehicles are becoming a reality and a part of our daily life, questions and concerns are arising about their responsibility and safety, and who is to blame if an accident occurs. At the current moment, there are no established standards for security at any level and there are so many companies like Alphabet, Uber, GM, Tesla, Ford to name a few who are in the mix. So determining it is also a very big task. Now a recently acquired company by Intel has proposed a model called Responsibility Sensitive Safety to “prove” the safety of autonomous vehicles.
The equation is shown below
In practice, the AV needs to know two things:
- Safe State: This is a state where there is no risk that the AV will cause an accident, even if other vehicles take unpredictable or reckless actions.
- Default Emergency Policy: This is a concept that defines the most aggressive evasive action that an AV can take to maintain or return to a Safe State.
We coin the term Cautious Command to represent the complete set of commands that maintain a Safe State. RSS sets a hard rule that the AV will never make a command outside of the set of Cautious Commands. This ensures that the planning module itself will never cause an accident.
A paper which is backing up the equation is trying to establish a baseline calculation for self-driving cars to make sure they will behave safely. That includes in situations where it’s possible for pedestrians to appear from behind another car, or, for example, making sure they’re not following another car too closely.