For developers of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles (AVs), one of the big challenges is to verify if their test vehicles have dealt with a full spectrum of driving scenarios.
Without a common language to describe the scenarios, nor agreed-upon metrics common to diverse testing platforms and verification techniques, it’s been impossible for carmakers to verify, validate and measure the safety of their testing ADAS and AVs.
Foretellix, a Tel Aviv-based startup, is a pioneer in creating a common description language — called Measurable Scenario Description Language — for ADAS and AV designers. The company announced Monday that it has now made M-SDL open to the industry (under the Apache 2.0 license). “Anyone can access it,” said Ziv Binyamini, CEO and co-founder of Foretellix. It can be downloaded from the Foretellix website once registered.
ADAS and AV designers at different companies currently use a wide variety of test platforms including different simulation tools. Even within the same company, different groups often use different tools to simulate and verify, noted Binyamini.
“Without a common description language, even when an AV architect defines a driving scenario as a system requirement, a testing team might not be simulating and testing the same scenarios,” he explained. “Developers might not be even aware that their testing vehicles are not behaving in accordance with system requirements.”
Further, the lack of a common language makes it impossible for different stakeholders in ADAS and AV development to share driving scenarios.
A safety expert like Phil Koopman, CTO of Edge Case Research and professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has been vocal in stating that “miles driven” in simulation and road testing is not scalable. Today, few AV companies are disclosing their test coverage, let alone sharing it with others. Further, Koopman disputes that a disengagement — how often human safety drivers must take control of an errant AV while testing — is the right metric. Disengagements tend to incentivize test operators to minimize interventions, resulting in unsafe tests, he previously told EE Times.
Foretellix is hoping that by opening access to M-SDL, tool vendors, suppliers and developers can “simplify the capture, reuse and sharing of scenarios, and easily specify any mix of scenarios.” The company also noted that the use of a common scenario description language can help the AV industry “monitor and measure the coverage of the autonomous functionality,” independent of tests and testing platforms.
Readable by humans Binyamini acknowledged, “Designing the language is difficult,” partly because such an AV verification language needs “to be readable by humans.” Not just professionals but also non-programmers (such as regulators) ideally should be able to understand what the scenario description language says.
Moreover, the language “needs to be powerful enough,” said Binyamini, so that it can be open to a future when the need arises to add and express more yet-to-be-imagined complex scenarios.
The current version of M-SDL is not final. Foretellix is expecting more feedback from its partners.
Among participants in Foretellix’ M-SDL Partners Program are: AVL List GmbH, Volvo Group, Unity Technologies, Horiba Mira Ltd, TÜV SÜD, Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AAI) GmbH, Metamoto Inc, Vector Zero Inc, Trustworthy Systems Lab of Bristol University, and the Advanced Mobility Institute of Florida Polytechnic University.
Foretellix has also contributed language concepts to the Association for Standardization of Automation and Measuring Systems (ASAM) standards committee.
— Junko Yoshida, Global Co-Editor-In-Chief, AspenCore Media, Chief International Correspondent,EE Times
Former beat reporter, bureau chief, and editor in chief of EE Times, Junko Yoshida now spends a lot of her time covering the global electronics industry with a particular focus on China. Her beat has always been emerging technologies and business models that enable a new generation of consumer electronics. She is now adding the coverage of Chinaâ€™s semiconductor manufacturers, writing about machinations of fabs and fabless manufacturers. In addition, she covers automotive, Internet of Things, and wireless/networking for EE Times' Designlines. She has been writing for EE Times since 1990.