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Interesting new way of classifying autonomous driving

diplomat33

Average guy who loves autonomous vehicles
Aug 3, 2017
8,403
11,728
Terre Haute, IN USA
I found this blog from Dr. Philip Koopman, Edge Case Research & Carnegie Mellon University, where he proposes a new classification system for autonomous driving:

It does not replace the SAE levels but he feels it might be more helpful and less open to abuse or misunderstanding.

He proposes 4 "operational modes":

Assistive: A licensed human driver drives, and the vehicle assists.
This might include anti-lock brakes, stability control, cruise control, and automatic emergency braking. The driver always remains in the loop, exerting at least some form of continuous control over speed, lane keeping, or both. Most passenger vehicles on the road today are Assistive.

Driver liability: As with conventional human driving.

Supervised: The vehicle drives, but a human driver is responsible for ensuring safety.
Technology normally handles all aspects of the driving task. However, a licensed human driver is responsible for continuous monitoring of driving safety and taking over control instantly if something goes wrong. The driver is not expected to perform a continuous control function such as steering or speed control while in this operating mode. An effective driver monitoring system is required to ensure driver ability to take over when required.

Tesla's AP and GM's SuperCruise would fall under this category.

Driver liability: The human driver is responsible for safety unless the vehicle does something dangerous that is beyond a reasonable human driver capacity to intervene.

Automated: The vehicle performs the complete driving task.
A human driver is not required to operate the vehicle in this mode. However, a responsible person is required to ensure other aspects of vehicle safety such as buckling up the kids, proper securing of any cargo, and post-crash response. Simply put, in this operation mode the vehicle does the driving, but a responsible human is still the “captain of the ship” for handling everything except the driving. In some cases, there might be an expectation that a human driver moves the vehicle under manual control during portions of a trip that are not suitable for Automated operation.

Driver liability: The human driver is not responsible for driving errors, but is responsible for non-driving aspects of safety such as passenger safety, proper cargo loading, and post-crash situation management.

Autonomous: The whole vehicle is completely capable of operation with no human monitoring.
The vehicle can complete an entire driving mission under normal circumstances without human supervision. If something goes wrong, the vehicle is entirely responsible for alerting humans that it needs assistance, and for operating safely until that assistance is available. Things that might go wrong include not only encountering unforeseen situations and technology failures, but also flat tires, a battery fire, being hit by another vehicle, or all of these things at once. People in the vehicle, if there are any, might not be licensed drivers, and might not be capable of assuming the role of “captain of the ship.”

Driver liability: There is no human driver to blame for mistakes.

Here is a handy summary chart:

image.png


I kinda like this classification system. Thoughts?
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
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1,020
Vancouver, BC
I like it. I can imagine a car having several "modes" and you set one based on your mood, subject to an electronic acceptance of your driver's license.

Something is needed to break the disconnect between current/future ADAS/AP systems and the drivers who think their cars allow them to stop paying attention. The current SAE & industry practice is not giving me much reassurance that it is being taken very seriously, except the recent NHTSA reporting rules.
 
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diplomat33

Average guy who loves autonomous vehicles
Aug 3, 2017
8,403
11,728
Terre Haute, IN USA
I can imagine a car having several "modes" and you set one based on your mood, subject to an electronic acceptance of your driver's license.

Yes. The blog mentions that cars can have several modes:

A single vehicle can employ various operational modes across its Operational Design Domain (ODD). What is most important is that at any particular time the vehicle and the driver both understand that the vehicle is in exactly one of the four operational modes so that the driver’s responsibilities remain clear. As a simplified example, the same car might operate as Autonomous in a specially equipped parking garage, Automated on limited access highways, Supervised on designated main roads, and Assistive at other times. In such a car it would be important to ensure that the human driver is aware of and capable of performing accompanying driver responsibilities when modes change.
 
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diplomat33

Average guy who loves autonomous vehicles
Aug 3, 2017
8,403
11,728
Terre Haute, IN USA
Not a fan of the term ”Other Safety.” I would prefer “Final Safety” or “Backup Safety”

Yeah. "Other Safety" is the one aspect of the classification system that I am not sure I completely agree with.

Specifically, the blog says this:

Even more importantly, the SAE Levels say nothing about all the safety relevant tasks that a human driver does beyond actual driving. For example, someone has to make sure that the kids are buckled into their car seats. To actually deploy such vehicles, we need to cover the whole picture, in which driving is critical but only a piece of the safety puzzle.

The SAE levels only cover "actual driving" because that is all that an autonomous vehicle should really be responsible for. Buckling your kids in their cars seats is critical but it has nothing to do with autonomous driving. That is why the SAE does not cover "other safety" that is not related to actual driving.
 
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