Still Searching For Self-Driving Car Safety Standards

The Society of Automotive Engineers just updated their guidance for testing automated driving systems. The report, J3018, costs $81 to view and summary seems more concerned with what the report does not cover as what it does.

“This document provides safety-relevant guidance for on-road testing of vehicles being operated by prototype conditional, high, and full (Levels 3 to 5) ADS, as defined by SAE J3016. It does not include guidance for evaluating the performance of post-production ADS-equipped vehicles. Moreover, this guidance only addresses testing of ADS-operated vehicles as overseen by in-vehicle fallback test drivers (IFTD).

These guidelines do not address:

– Remote driving, including remote fallback test driving of prototype ADS-operated test vehicles in driverless operation. (Note: The term “remote fallback test driver” is included as a defined term herein and is intended to be addressed in a future iteration of this document. However, at this time, too little is published or known about this type of testing to provide even preliminary guidance.)

– Testing of driver support features (i.e., Levels 1 and 2), which rely on a human driver to perform part of the dynamic driving task (DDT) and to supervise the driving automation feature’s performance in real time. (Refer to SAE J3016.)

– Closed-course testing.

– Simulation testing (except for training purposes).

– Component-level testing.”

I have not purchased the report, so I can’t speak toward its contents. I can say that the SAE Autonomy Levels, although controversial, have been tremendously helpful in establishing a vocabulary for the industry.

Lots of automotive groups are grasping toward any sort of guidance around testing and certification. Getting the industry to converge seems like a key milestone in deploying production-level self-driving cars to the public.

The SAE might gain more by suggesting testing guidelines in the public domain, rather than behind a paywall.

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