Testing Autonomous Vehicles

Creating simulation environments to test self-driving vehicles is an opportunity for innovation.


After I wrote last month about my concerns about the pending legislation that appears to relax safety regulations for autonomous vehicles being tested on public roads, it seems I am not alone and some safety groups have also expressed concern.

Of course, the promise of autonomous driving is exciting and will absolutely save lives — when the technology and infrastructure are ready — there is still work to be done.  This interesting article highlights some of the challenges of testing autonomous vehicles, and does a good job of describing scenarios under which vehicles must be tested to get them ready for mass use. Better yet, it was written by someone knee-deep in the technology: the person who founded Cruise Automation, which GM acquired to augment its self-driving efforts.

(Source: Cruise Automation)

At the same time, testing autonomous vehicles in a simulator is not always the easiest task.

Just as in the design of semiconductors, the right stimulus for a simulator is key, otherwise the task is for nothing. This should not be a deterrent for anyone in this space — rather, it is a fantastic opportunity on so many levels (hardware, software, functional safety, etc.) and it is an incredible time for innovation.

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