• Follow us

Automotive

The Complex Quest to Write a Robocar Driving Test

“Self-driving cars are here,” Dmitri Dolgov told the audience at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital event this week. “It's not a matter of when or if. It’s a matter of how fast we can grow and how fast we can scale this technology in a responsible manner.”

Waymo’s CTO is right: The outfit that started off as Google’s self-driving car project is running a limited robotaxi service in the Phoenix metro area. (The company still uses safety drivers, so the cars aren’t yet totally driverless. Dolgov also told the audience that the company has tech yet to crack.) And it’s not alone. GM Cruise plans to launch a service this year. Uber is testing in Pittsburgh. Lyft and Aptiv have a limited self-driving service in Las Vegas. Nuro’s delivery bots are hauling groceries around Texas and Arizona. May Mobility is running robo-shuttles in Detroit.

So for the public sharing the roads with these things, a few long lurking questions are now more pressing than ever: How do we know these things are safe? The companies say they are, but how can they prove it to us?

One thing is for sure: The way we certify human drivers ain’t going to cut it. Just because software can pull off a three-point turn once doesn’t mean it will be able to do it every time, in variable conditions. Or that the people who built it even know why it worked. Algorithms are black boxes; developers can see whether a computer is doing something right, but they can’t necessarily tell if the computer understands why it’s right. If something goes wrong with self-driving software, though, researchers are going to need to understand how it works—so they can fix it.

A different sort of test, then, is in order. One made not for people, but for machines. That’s why some people in the self-driving space are talking about setting a new kind of standard.

For decades, engineers who build anything, including software, have used standards to verify the quality of their work. Whether those standards are voluntary or government mandated, they’re less rules for what to do than processes for making sure that what you do works. Underwriters Laboratory, based in Illinois, writes standards and certifies that companies are following them for just about any product you can think of: outdoor furniture, horticultural lighting and grow systems, armored cables, robotic equipment, factory-built fireplaces, tin-clad fire doors. Check your favorite American electronic product or appliance and chances are you’ll find a safety certification stamp from Underwriters or a similar organization. (If you don’t, maybe rethink your choice.) Another group called the International Organization of Standards came out with a new standard called ISO 26262 eight years ago, which outlines safety in electrical or electronic car systems.

But no one has made this kind of standard, this variety of test, for a self-driving car. Underwriters Laboratories and a safety software company called Edge Case Research would like to change that, and quickly. They have a plan to bring together all sorts of players in this budding industry to do what others have done for automotive software and those tin-clad fire doors. The groups plan to write a new safety standard for autonomous products called—and this just rolls off the tongue—UL 4600.

Right now, UL 4600 is a draft, written by collaborators with backgrounds in standards writing and aviation and automotive software tech. To make the final version, they need to bring together a “supergroup” panel of advisers. They’d like to do that this spring.

“I have a balance of interests that I look for,” says Deborah Prince, the standards process manager for Underwriters Laboratories. She has put together many advisory panels for the standards that the company oversees. “I’m looking for my producers, I might have software people in there, insurance people, regulators. I want the right cross section.” For a self-driving software standard, that cross section might be made up of big developers like Waymo and Uber, small self-driving startups, independent researchers, car companies, and maybe even a few staffers from the Department of Transportation.

(Waymo could not say whether it has been in conversation with UL about this safety standard, but Uber spokesperson Sarah Abboud said the company was aware of UL’s activity and is “interested in getting involved in any industry standard work that brings self-driving vehicles to market in a safe, responsible way.”)

Together, the groups want that advisory panel to come up with a standard that would force those building self-driving technology to explain how their cars can get through bloopers and accidents, even without a driver at the wheel. Tire blows out? No one’s going to grab the steering wheel. Vehicle catches on fire and the passenger is asleep in the back? No one’s there to wake them up and get them out. Developers would have to lay out precisely how their software works around those autonomy-specific problems.

“The standard says, 'This is a list of all the things that it means to do the right thing, and you have to explain to me how you're going to get it right,'” says Philip Koopman, a cofounder of Edge Case Research and an electrical and computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who is helping to write the standard. “I don't really care how. But you're not allowed to blow it off.”

The standard has a ways to go, but its makers want the process to move quickly. If the group comes together this spring, it might update the draft standard by midyear and solicit public feedback. It could even publish a standard by the end of the 2019—warp speed for a process that usually takes years.

Then, though, would come the biggest challenge: getting companies to use the thing. Because a standard without adherents is like a church without congregants—kind of depressing and not very useful. One hurdle facing the group is that Underwriters isn’t yet strongly established in the automotive space. Also, many aren’t convinced it’s not better to just rejigger ISO’s 26262 standard for autonomous driving.

But the upside for this standard—or any safety standard, really—is that following it could mean a safer self-driving car. One that’s far better than a teen who just passed his first driving test—and can prove it.

More Great WIRED StoriesHow much prenatal genetic info do you really want?On the trail of the robocall kingThe real choice you make subscribing to Apple servicesThe mathematical history of a perfect color combinationFor gig workers, client interactions can get … weird👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our latest buying guides and best deals all year round📩 Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletterRead More



Leave A Comment

More News

All Motor Trend Stories RSS

2019 Acura RDX A-Spec Long-Term Update 4: Safety 2019-04-20 04:00:04Evaluating safety tech is trickier than ever. It’s not enough to just check a box on a features list; it’s important to know how the tech

8 Things to Know About the 2020 Subaru 2019-04-19 19:52:36Subaru has given its best-selling model a full redesign. On the surface, the 2020 Subaru Outback doesn’t look radically different from the model

The 7 Hottest SUVs From the 2019 New 2019-04-19 19:15:04As you’re no doubt aware, crossovers and SUVs are blazing hot. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the things and prefer cars—we’

GM Files Trademark for Bolt EUV, Hinting at 2019-04-19 18:40:55General Motors plans to launch at least 20 new electric vehicles by 2023, and it makes sense the automaker would leverage the existing Bolt to achieve

The 8 Coolest Electric Vehicles at the 2019 2019-04-19 17:15:09For many automakers, the 2019 New York auto show was a major event. Among others, Toyota showed off the new Highlander, Mercedes introduced the redesi

Land Rover Plans to Reveal the Redesigned Defender 2019-04-19 15:45:02Late last year, Land Rover released official images of a camouflaged Defender prototype. The camouflage not only confirmed that the redesigned Defende

2020 Qiantu K50 by Mullen: A California-Built Bargain 2019-04-19 14:45:08What would you expect to pay for an all-electric, two-motor, all-wheel-drive, two-seat, carbon-fiber-bodied sports car that’s roughly the size a

Toyota Plans 12 New or Redesigned Vehicles Over 2019-04-19 14:17:36Toyota will launch 12 all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles over a three-year span that began last fall with the introduction of the redesigned

Seven Magnificent Features of the New 2020 Hyundai 2019-04-19 13:08:56The Kona won’t be Hyundai’s entry-level crossover for long. That’s thanks to the new 2020 Venue, a tiny crossover that essentially f

Uber’s Self-Driving Arm Gets $1 Billion From Toyota, 2019-04-19 12:48:32Uber Technologies Inc. secured a $1 billion investment from three Japanese companies, ahead of an initial public offering expected next month. Denso C

Spied! Bright Green 992 Porsche 911 Targa Tests 2019-04-18 18:43:00Late last year, Porsche finally took the wraps off the redesigned 2020 911. As we found when we drove it a few months later, the new 911 Carrera S is

Auto Showdown: 2020 Toyota Highlander vs. 2020 Ford 2019-04-18 18:28:38The two big dogs of the three-row SUV segment have undergone recent redesigns—the Ford Explorer debuting in Detroit in January, and the Toyota H

WIRED

Kitty Hawk, Flying Cars, and the Challenges of 2019-04-22 06:00:00At a startup run by autonomous vehicle mastermind Sebastian Thrun, the dream of flying cars is starting to become reality. But expect flight delays.

Waze Wants to Help All of Us Win 2019-04-22 06:00:00The world's premier traffic-busting app has a plan for when traffic never ever gets better: get us all to share commutes, and become ... friends?

Nissan's EV Hints at World Where Can Auto 2019-04-22 06:00:00A back seat that transforms into a throne, front seats that swivel to face one another—Nissan's IMs concept shows what designers do when tech l

EV Upstart Rivian Is Helping to Drive a 2019-04-22 06:00:00A explosion of new technologies has companies flooding the auto industry en masse—again.

LA’s Plan to Reboot Its Bus System—Using Cell 2019-04-22 06:00:00Ridership on the city's bus system is plummeting, so the transit agency is redesigning it—with the help of location data from about 5 million c

Are We There Yet? A Reality Check on 2019-04-22 06:00:00Fully autonomous cars may never arrive. But we'll all benefit from self-driving tech while we wait.

Punny SUVs at the NY Auto Show and 2019-04-21 09:00:00Genesis shows off an electric two-seater it may never build, Elon Musk takes a step toward a really big tunnel, and Uber gets another $1 billion inves

British Beach-Goers Could Get a Bigger Road Through 2019-04-20 07:00:00Well, a tunnel that passes underneath it, to be more specific. But conservationists have reservations.

Uber Recruits Some Rich Friends to Drive Its 2019-04-19 15:27:47Toyota, Japanese auto supplier Denso, and the Softbank Vision Fund are investing $1 billion in Uber's self-driving car unit.

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Inches Closer to Making 2019-04-19 10:00:00The company filed a sprawling environmental report for the Loop, a proposed network of tunnels that would move people from Baltimore to Washington in

Climate Change Threatens Ice Roads. Satellites Could Help 2019-04-18 06:00:00Diamond mines in Canada have a short window in which to truck in their equipment—satellite sensors could help ice roads keep on truckin’.

Injuries Force Lyft to Hit the Brakes on 2019-04-17 07:00:00Lyft's Motivate subsidiary pulled its e-bikes from New York, Washington, and San Francisco after riders reported injuries resulting from unexpectedly

Automotive news - from

Toyota plans first hybrid car made in Brazil 2019-04-18 12:05:00Toyota Motor said it would build a hybrid version of the redesigned Corolla sedan in Brazil that will run on electricity, ethanol and petrol, claiming

ZF and Foton open second transmission JV plant 2019-04-18 11:51:00Following the ZF establishment of two joint ventures with Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer Foton in 2016, to produce commercial vehicle transmi

EV car-share schemes 'could help OEMs avoid EU 2019-04-18 08:55:00New EV car-sharing schemes could offer carmakers a path to avoiding EU fines that will be levied on companies that fail to achieve tighter average CO2

Jinkang Seres (SF Motors) launches first SUV in 2019-04-18 08:18:00Jinkang Seres, a subsidiary of Chinese automaker Sokon Group also known as SF Motors, unveiled a new battery-powered SUV at a company event held this

just-auto takes an Easter break 2019-04-18 08:12:00Easter is coming this weekend, which means Friday (19 April) and Monday (22 April) are public holidays for us, here in the UK.

Indonesia sales continue to fall in March 2019-04-18 08:06:00New vehicle sales in Indonesia continued to fall in March 2019, by over 11% to 90,189 units from 101,674 units a year earlier, according to wholesale

Uber attracting investors to self-driving unit - report 2019-04-18 07:21:00Ride-hail giant Uber Technologies is reported to be nearing a deal with a group of investors prepared to invest in its self-driving car unit.

SKF opens new tapered roller bearing factory in 2019-04-18 07:20:00SKF has inaugurated its tapered roller bearing factory in Changshan, China.

SEAT spent EUR7.137bn on purchases in 2018 2019-04-18 07:19:00In a record year for Volkswagen Group Spanish unit SEAT, the purchasing operation spent EUR7.137bn (US$8.061bn) in 2018, up 5.6% year on year.

Lear completes acquisition of automotive software supplier Xevo 2019-04-18 07:14:00Lear Corporation has announced it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Seattle-based Xevo, a leading automotive software supplier tha

Hella expands partner network for lighting and electronics 2019-04-18 06:53:00Hella has signed further cooperation agreements at Auto Shanghai, China's most important motor show.

Dana says acquisitions expand support for OEMs in 2019-04-18 06:47:00Dana has announced that the company had added five facilities in China since the start of the year. The increase is the result of Dana's recent

High Gear Media Network Feed

Watch Ken Block thrash his new Ford F-150 New! 2019-04-22 14:00:00Ken Block has a new toy, and thanks to a video from the Hoonigan crew, we're invited to come along as Block tests his Ford F-150 Raptor by SVC for th

Tesla investigators dispatched to China after Model S New! 2019-04-22 13:32:00After video surfaced of a Tesla Model S smoking before catching fire, the electric-car maker has dispatched investigators to China where the incident

Audi R8 replacement expected to be 650-hp electric New! 2019-04-22 13:00:00In March, we heard that the Audi R8 had a very uncertain future. If new rumors prove true, it appears the R8 will, in fact, die to make room for an al

Second "Hobbs & Shaw" trailer is "Fast and 2019-04-22 11:45:00We received our first look at the new spin-off film from the "Fast and Furious" franchise in February, and now we have a second, more revealing look

Porsche 911 Targa, Dodge Charger Widebody, inside FCA's 2019-04-22 11:00:00Porsche's newest 911, the 992 generation, has only just arrived but already the car's Targa body style is out testing with zero camouflage gear. Thi

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35 Shooting Brake spy shots and 2019-04-22 10:00:00Mercedes-Benz used March's Geneva International Motor Show to unveil a redesigned CLA Shooting Brake, and sadly the automaker has no plans to introdu

Dodge Charger Widebody spotted in the wild 2019-04-22 08:45:00Dodge rolled out a Charger Widebody concept during March's Spring Fest Mopar meet in Pomona, California. At the time, a company spokesman said the co

Live out your open-wheel dreams in the BAC 2019-04-22 07:30:00BAC is a startup sports car company from Liverpool, England, which views driving as a sport. The company, started by Ian and Neill Briggs, has offered

2020 Corsair to be first Lincoln built in 2019-04-22 06:00:00The 2020 Lincoln Corsair will become the brand's first model produced in China, Automotive News (subscription required) reported on Wednesday. The Co

2021 Porsche 911 Targa spy shots and video 2019-04-22 03:00:00Porsche has just launched its new 992-generation 911 sports car and you can bet there'll be just as many variants, if not more, that we saw with the

Ford introduces smart key fobs to thwart hackers 2019-04-21 08:00:00Ford has a solution to keep hackers from stealing crucial information encoded in a key fob. The automaker announced last week that its smart key fobs

André Lotterer daily drives a 1984 Audi Sport 2019-04-21 02:00:00Those lucky enough to own classic cars often choose something other than old, finicky, heritage vehicles as a "daily drivers." André Lotterer

The Truth About Cars

Chevrolet Traverse Update: Huge Crossover Ditches Small Engine New! 2019-04-22 13:58:08An “odd choice.” That’s how TTAC’s Timothy Cain characterized the Chevrolet Traverse RS when it first appeared in late 2017. P

The Kids Aren’t Alright New! 2019-04-22 13:17:46For roughly the last decade, we’ve heard the motoring media bemoan Millennials as the generation that snubbed driving. Their inability to f

The Mazda CX-5 Diesel’s Economic Case Is Nonexistent 2019-04-22 12:00:10Finally. Mazda’s promised diesel-powered CX-5 is now open for pre-order in the United States, years after we began chronicling the Skyactiv-D&rs

Ford’s Scouting for a Second Bronco Name 2019-04-22 11:07:17Buyers without the necessary cash (or need) to get into a Bronco next year will have an alternative choice — possibly one with a similar na

Tesla Explosion Goes Viral, Adds to Musk’s Chinese 2019-04-22 10:00:55As Tesla feverishly attempts to complete construction of a Chinese assembly plant and kick off production before the end of the year, a viral video is

QOTD: Birthday Follies? 2019-04-22 09:07:21Today’s QOTD requires those who respond to give away a bit of information about themselves — their age. Or, y’know, you could just g

Junkyard Find: Big Sexxy, the V8-6-4-powered 1981 Cadillac 2019-04-22 08:00:37Finding a Malaise Era Cadillac in a self-service wrecking yard is interesting, especially when it has Cadillac’s not-so-successful first attempt

Ford’s Mustang Bragging Brings Out the Best in 2019-04-19 16:00:04Ford celebrated its iconic sports coupe’s 55th birthday at the New York International Auto Show this week by proclaiming Wednesday as “Mus

Rack ‘Em: Best Bike Racks for Your Vehicle 2019-04-19 15:30:54Make it easier to bring your bike along for the ride. The post Rack ‘Em: Best Bike Racks for Your Vehicle appeared first on The Truth About Cars

Unhappy Journey: Fiat Chrysler Recalls a Slew of 2019-04-19 14:00:51The Dodge Dart rolled unceremoniously out of the Fiat Chrysler stable after the 2016 model year, but the automaker now worries it may roll out of owne

Nissan Supports Notre Dame Restoration, Ditto for Relationship 2019-04-19 13:30:44Nissan Motor Co. has pledged a donation of 100,000 euros ($112,000) for the restoration of the fire-kissed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. However, the

Bolt Pattern: GM Seeks Trademark for ‘Bolt EUV’ 2019-04-19 13:00:47General Motors has already announced it will build a new electric Chevrolet to serve as a sibling to the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. This makes sense

Automotive News Breaking

Ghosn indicted on new charges 2019-04-22 04:03:34Japanese prosecutors indicted Carlos Ghosn for a fourth time on Monday, alleging that he misappropriated $5.0 million from Nissan for personal use dur

2019 New York auto show hits & misses 2019-04-22 00:00:01Two industry-watchers from Automotive News walked the floor at the New York auto show and issued their views and verdicts.

Dealers turn to Craigslist to meet used-car demand 2019-04-22 00:00:01Used inventory is tight, so dealers are increasingly looking beyond trade-ins and wholesale auctions for cars and trucks.

Buick dealers will get an extra helping of 2019-04-22 00:00:01U.S. dealers will get a chance to sell the Encore GX small crossover shown in Shanghai last week.

Lincoln reimagined as a 'luxury boutique' 2019-04-22 00:00:01Lincoln has spent the better part of this decade transforming its lineup and rebooting its brand identity. Its next challenge: Not messing it up.

U.S. ultimatum to Chrysler was not coercion, Rattner 2019-04-22 00:00:01The former head of the White House's auto rescue task force says the government was Chrysler's savior, not its boss.

Crossovers star in 2 auto shows in 1 2019-04-22 00:00:01It's not every auto show season that two major shows are going on at the same week. But there was a common thread between the shows in Shanghai and N

Which Munoz will show up at Hyundai? 2019-04-22 00:00:01Will the Korean automaker get the same Nissan officer who pushed volume into crowded showrooms or a more nuanced leader in tune with retailers' needs

Ford reboots in China, with deeper local intel 2019-04-21 00:00:01Desperate to reverse last year's 37 percent tumble in China sales, Ford is belatedly following rivals in doing things differently.

Toyota: Export U.S. best practices to China 2019-04-21 00:00:01Toyota is benchmarking its U.S. success story in an effort to repeat the winning formula in China. The goal: China surpasses the U.S. as Toyota's vol

Audi joins forces with Marvel Studios' 'Avengers: Endgame' 2019-04-19 12:50:31Audi's hopes the Marvel collaboration will boost audience engagement and socialize the Audi e-tron crossover.

BMW adds 185,000 units to recall over engine 2019-04-19 12:13:53BMW said it monitored reports from the field and found "several field incidents" involving 2006 3-series vehicles, so the company added them to a No

autoevolution news

Hyundai Sonata N Rendering Is a Subtle Thing New! 2019-04-22 14:28:29On the sidelines of the 2019 New York Auto Show, Hyundai North America chief operating officer Brian Smith announced that the all-new Sonata was getti

2020 Audi S6, S6 Avant and S7 Configurators New! 2019-04-22 13:32:34Dark times have fallen upon the Audi S brand, as new emissions restrictions in Europe have forced the once mighty S6 onto a 3.0 TDI engine, together w

Is the 2020 Range Rover Evoque Better than New! 2019-04-22 13:05:28There's no such thing as a bad premium SUV/crossover, but you can buy one that's bad for you. So let's see how the all-new second-generation Range

Ferrari Monza Coupe Is the Retro-Styled V8 Supercar 2019-04-22 12:07:57When Ferrari came up with the make-one-weak-in-the-knees Monza SP1 and SP2, I had just one though: why limit such splendid shapes to a series that onl

Tesla to Reveal Full Self-Driving Tech on Monday, 2019-04-22 11:39:15At the time of this writing, there are under three hours or so left until Tesla’s meeting with its investors kicks off at the company’s he

Chevrolet Discontinues 2.0-liter LTG Turbo Engine In Traverse 2019-04-22 11:05:08When Chevrolet decided to bring back the Traverse as the next best thing after the Tahoe, we were surprised to see a 2.0-liter turbo in the engine opt

Front-Engined Porsche 911 Looks Brutal with a HEMI 2019-04-22 10:55:56Nowadays, when vloggers strip Lamborghinis of their body panels and install exoskeletons in search of online attention, you can't be all that shocked

Porsche Wants Its Drivers to Pay the Planet 2019-04-22 10:13:45Ever since the 1970s April 22 has been dubbed Earth Day. Seen by environmental groups as the best way to raise awareness to our planet’s problem

Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo Shows Up in Traffic, 2019-04-22 09:55:33The Porsche Taycan is set to kick off Porsche's EV revolution this September. And while the Zuffenhausen factory that has received serious investment

Jeep Discounts the JL Wrangler Up To $9,485 2019-04-22 09:53:01Even though it’s one of the hottest SUVs out there, the JL Wrangler is available with up to $9,485 off the suggested retail price. These substan

2019 Chevrolet Onix Redline Debuts Ecotec 325T Engine 2019-04-22 09:49:01Now available to order in China from 96,900 yuan, the Onix Redline is a compact sedan that looks spacious and sporty. On the other hand, there’s

Man Parks Ford Transit on the Beach, the 2019-04-22 09:35:53If you’re going to park your car on a beach, make sure it won’t be taken out to sea by the incoming tide. That’s the lesson one Ford


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.