One of the mains goal for autonomous vehicles is to improve human safety, by reducing the number of traffic crashes. But how do you know if autonomous vehicles actually do so, under what conditions, and by how much? A benchmark is needed, and a new white paper offers one that is a result of research and industry collaboration.
Researchers from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) worked with General Motors and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the autonomous vehicle company Cruise on a two-year study that assessed the number and severity of crashes involving ride-hail drivers in San Francisco, and comparing that to crashes involving autonomous vehicles, to come up with a baseline benchmark.
“What’s been missing in autonomous vehicle research is a benchmark that goes beyond the available data and accurately reflects the human driver. With support from General Motors and Cruise, experts at UMTRI were able to take a groundbreaking new approach to generating human-driver benchmarks in environments comparable to ADS deployments,” said Dr. Carol Flannagan, lead author of the paper and research professor at UMTRI. “We investigated actual driving behaviors of ridehail drivers in a complex urban environment that can be meaningfully utilized as a benchmark for comparable human driver performance.”
The study took place from 2016 to 2018, with extensive collaboration between Cruise, General Motors (GM), UMTRI and VTTI. The study’s geographic area included all of San Francisco but excluded some high-speed roads with posted speeds greater than 35 miles per hour.
“Publicly available national datasets cannot produce human crash rate estimates that are appropriate to the urban ridehail driving environment,” according to the report summary. “This paper presents a study of human driving performance by ridehail drivers operating in San Francisco. The goal of the study was to generate a crash rate estimate that could be used as a human benchmark representing the crash rate for ridehail drivers driving in a low-speed and dense urban driving environment.”
The study calculated a human-driven, urban ridehail crash benchmark rate of 1 crash per 15,414.4 driving miles within the study’s geographic area, or 64.9 crashes per million miles. That calculates the overall crash rate or frequency for human ride-hail driving, but “did not address meaningful risk of injury or primary contribution” for such crashes. (Cruise itself did some additional analysis on that, based on the survey data, as outlined in its blog post—after all, a fenderbender at a stop sign at very low speeds does not pose the same risks for human occupants as a higher-speed collision.)
“As we continue to collect driverless miles and provide updates of our driverless safety record, we want to set a meaningful and reasonable human benchmark for measuring our safety performance,” wrote Louise Zhang, Cruise’s VP of safety and systems, in the blog post on the study. “This study is the best available benchmark for measuring human driving performance in a dense urban environment.”
In other test news this week:
–Keysight Technologies worked with 5G vehicle-to-everything company Ettifos to successfully test 5G Rel. 16 Sidelink radio conformance of Ettifos’ SIRIUS 5G-V2X system.
“This radio conformance test with Keysight allowed us to confirm the quality and compliance of our 5G-V2X sidelink platform, SIRIUS. Since Keysight and we developed the implementation of 3GPP Release 16 in our respective devices independently, the successful interoperability of our devices was more meaningful,” said Hojun Kim, global CTO for Ettifos. “It also shows V2X stakeholders that there is equipment available and ready in the market for use in testing advanced use cases designed with 5G-V2X sidelink in mind.”
-Also this week, Keysight debuted its new Keysight EDA (electronic design automation) 2024 software tools, which it says focus on the “shift left” approach and moving design validation forward in the overall development cycle.
–Anritsu released new software for its Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A, with a focus on simplifying and optimizing data throughput tests for customer premise equipment used in 5G Fixed Wireless Access.
–Rohde & Schwarz is participating in an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) of the European Commission in the field of microelectronics and communications technology. The company offered additional details this week, saying that its participation includes a project at four of its German locations: Munich, Memmingen, Teisnach and Duisburg. The R&S project “aims to develop a new, highly competitive European test and measurement solution for the millimeter-wave range,” the copmany said in a release, adding that a “major part” of the development work will be “A major part of this development work will be “the creation of a state-of-the-art European GaN/SiC semiconductor technology.” Ultimately, Rohde said, it expects the technology developed through the project to be “indispensable for developing and testing future microelectronic components.”
In other company news this week, R&S said that it is working with non-terrestrial network (NTN) provider Skylo to put together a device certification framework based on Rohde’s R&S CMW500 wideband radio communication tester and aimed at ensuring that chipsets, modules and devices using the NTN NB-IoT protocol are both Release 17-compliant and “integrate seamlessly” with Skylo’s network.
Rohde & Schwarz also has announced fellow test equipment company and longtime collaborator ETS Lindgren has integrated the R&S CMX500 OBT wideband radio communication tester and R&S SMBV100B GNSS simulator into its offering for a “turnkey” 5G NR assisted-GNSS antenna performance testing solution, which supports both 5G and LTE.
-Swiss FPGA company Enclustra officially kicked off new operations in San Diego this week. The company, which provides FPGAs for applications including wireless communications, test and measurement equipment, aerospace/defense and healthcare, plans to hire around 30 people for operations that include sales, engineering, design services and localized manufacturing, which will enable the company to offer “made in the USA” FPGAs within the next year, according to Enclustra.